As soon as I heard that the New Orleans Saints were getting busted for implementing a bounty program that paid players bonuses for injuring opposing players, the first person I thought of was Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
Berry, the victim of a low block by Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson last season, missed the entire year with a torn ACL. At the time, there were some fans who wondered if the block was intentional. There was some bad blood between the Chiefs and Bills entering the game because the Chiefs had fired Bills head coach Chan Gailey in 2009. Before the game, Gailey talked about how it would be nice to beat the Chiefs.
To be fair, Johnson went on the record as saying that it was never his intention to injure Berry.
But that didn’t stop people from wondering about it.
Apparently Berry himself, also wonders.
The Chiefs safety took to Twitter this afternoon and said the following:
"Sometimes I sit n wonder if they had a bounty out on me…oh well…who cares. Either way u can’t hold me down."
Berry isn’t accusing Johnson of anything here but he, like the rest of us, can’t help but wonder.
It is because of situations like this that the NFL is likely to come down hard on the Saints.
We’ll likely never know if the hit on Berry was intentional or not. What we can guess is, “bounty hunting” in the NFL is probably a lot more common than the league would like to admit.