Item is updated below with comments from Joe Gibbs.
After the Gregg Williams bounty story broke, many people started wondering what Joe Gibbs knew.
“Just let me say this: I’m not aware of anything like this when I was coaching there,” Gibbs told The Post last week. “I would never ask a player to hurt another player. Never.”
“I assure you, he had no idea of what was happening,” Greg Blache told The Post this week. “If he had, he would have put a stop to it.”
So George Starke — one of the original Hogs, who played for the original Gibbs — was on with ESPN 980’s Sports Reporters Monday evening, and was asked about this claim that Gibbs didn’t know.
“That’s just too stupid,” Starke said. “Of course he knew.”
Then Starke talked about how cash was handed out during Gibbs’s first regime.
“Let’s be clear: the reason that the Hogs did that Hogs Night Out poster...was, in the meeting after the game, Joe Gibbs would come in, he’d have a fistful of $100 bills,” Starke said. “And if Dexter knocked the quarterback down three times, he would get three hundred-dollar bills. And Joe would pass the money out in the meeting, and we would have to duck.
Update: Gibbs talked to Jason Reid on Tuesday about incentive-based pay during his first coaching stint, when the NFL permitted teams to reward players with a set amount of extra money.
“In my first stint coaching the Redskins, we did have an incentive program in place to recognize the guys for outstanding plays made within the rules of the game,” Gibbs said. “Back then there was no salary cap and the incentive program we used was within the league rules. We had all kinds of incentives, including dinners at local restaurants, radios, the chance to sit in a lazy-boy recliner during team meetings and cash rewards. To be clear — we only used rewards as a motivational tool and to recognize the guys who made positive plays in the game each week.”
Starke later talked about how offensive linemen were not rewarded as frequently for their play.
“Dexter only played probably three plays a game, because he didn’t play the run, all he wanted to do was the rush the passer,” Starke said. “So he’s getting three hundred-dollar bills. If Art Monk got two catches…there’s all kind of reasons that guy got these hundred-dollar bills. But offensive linemen, if they had a perfect game — that meant that John [Riggins] ran for 100 yards — he would get some money but we didn’t get anything. That was the whole Hogs Night Out thing. I said screw that, I went out and signed Jack Kent Cooke’s to the check. Everybody knows that story.”
Yeah, but Gibbs? Hundred-dollar bills? What about when Dexter took out Danny White?
“I don’t know, I don’t remember that, but I’m sure he got something,” Starke said. “In Joe Gibbs’s case, he handed out hundred-dollar bills. He’d come into meetings, he’d have a couple thousand dollars in hundreds. He’s the head coach, who else would do it?
“But wait a minute, wait a minute,” Starke continued. “I think that Joe, if he was on the line here, would say well wait a minute, I was giving out hundred-dollar bills as incentives for big plays, which is true. I want to be clear, I don’t believe that Gregg Williams ever asked anybody to hurt anybody. I don’t believe that. I don’t know Gregg Williams, but players don’t do that. I’ve never seen a player, ever, intentionally try to hurt another player.
“Knock him out? Of course. You’ve got to knock them out. We’re paid to knock them out. Really, when I hear people talk about hurting someone, I’m thinking trying to hurt his knee or something like that. You’ve got to remember, it’s not until very recently that this whole brain stuff has come up, so really, I’m not sure today if the players today look at that the same. That’s a good question. But you have to understand, knocking someone out, it’s like being a boxer. Your job is to knock the guy out.”
And Starke — who played for three head coaches in Washington — also discussed the reward system under George Allen.
“ In the George Allen day it was appliances, and all the local businesses would give you watches or clock radios,” he said. “I had a zillion watches and clock radios. I didn’t known what to do with them. Every team has different ways of motivating their players, and every team gives out stuff. In the George Allen day, it was local businesses would donate stuff to the Redskins, and then George and the coaches would decide in the first meeting after the game who got what based on a big hit, big catch, big run, that kind of stuff...
“Football is football, and the idea is that the team that hits the hardest usually wins the game,” he said. “Everybody knows that. And since that’s the truth, and that’s the basis of football, every coaching staff has different ways. It’s all about motivation....
“Yes, George Allen did in fact put a bounty on Roger Staubach of 200 bucks, and the bounty was to knock him out,” he went on. “Not hurt him. Let’s be clear about that. Knock him out....We used call it drag-offs. Pete Wysocki named it drag-offs — if you hit him and knock him and he had to be drug off the field — and of course only defensive players think in those terms. That’s called a drag off. But just for irony, the only time George actually ever put a bounty on Roger Staubach happened to have been in the Thanksgiving game that Clint Longley came in and beat us. That was the only time.”