A bombshell report rocked the NFL today as word of an illegal bounty system imposed by then Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams reached the public. Players were rewarded financially for injuries caused to opposing stars.
Tony Dungy claimed that the neck problems that ultimately cost Manning the entire 2011 season started in 2006 after a vicious hit by the Redskins defense.
Here’s a second video with TV commentary, courtesy of Scott Kacsmar.
Now, with Williams openly admitting to placing bounties on players, and evidence mounting that such behavior extended back to his days with the ‘Skins, it seems at least plausible that Manning’s troubles could be the direct result of the illegal and immoral actions of Gregg Williams.
Williams participation as a primary organizer is not in dispute, but whether this particular hit was part of that system is merely conjecture.
You can be sure that Colts fans’ will add their voices to the rising choir calling for a permanent ban of Gregg Williams from organized football.
Manning suffered with extreme neck pain for years, enduring hours of painful traction each week. Ultimately, he had a series of surgeries designed to relieve his pain. After three procedures from May to September 2011, Manning missed the entire season, and now awaits word of whether he’ll ultimately be released by the Colts.
Regardless of whether Manning’s career is cut short or merely resolves in another city, the hit and subsequent years of pain will not be quickly forgotten.
Gregg Williams has fully admitted his guilt as far his time in New Orleans goes. That admission alone should be enough to ensure he never walks an NFL sideline again.
UPDATE: This 2010 story indicates that Manning’s neck issues go back several years. He says ‘four’ in the article, which would place the start of his troubles in 2006.