Former Iowa football player Matt Bowen wrote a recent piece for the Chicago Tribune about bounties in the NFL.
Bowen, who played defensive back for St. Louis, Green Bay, Washington and Buffalo, explained how he experienced bounties being set with the Redskins and then-assistant coach Gregg Williams — who is at the heart of a bounty-paying controversy in New Orleans.
Bowen wrote that the teams set prices for big hits on Saturday nights in the team hotel.
“We targeted big names, our sights set on taking them out of the game,” Bowen wrote. “Price tags started low during the regular season — a couple hundred bucks for going after the quarterback hard or taking a running back out below the knees. Chop him down and give a quick smile when you got back to the huddle. You just got a bonus.”
Bowen said money was gathered for team fines related to showing up late to practice, as one example.
He contended the hits were clean and legal, but worked to motivate players.
“It was a system we all bought into. I ate it up. It’s hard not to, not when you’re playing for a coach like Gregg Williams, my defensive coordinator while I was with the Washington Redskins,” he wrote.
“Williams is an excellent motivator. … I wanted to be That Guy for him, playing the game with an attitude opposing players absolutely feared. If that meant playing through the whistle or going low on a tackle, I did it.”
Bowen said he didn’t regret the system and defended Williams as his best NFL coach.
“I believed in him. I still do,” Bowen wrote. “That will never change.”
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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football