Coy Wire: Falcons don’t have a bounty system

Linebacker Coy Wire, the team's former alternate player representative, set up the team's ad hoc offseason training program.

Linebacker Coy Wire, the team's former alternate player representative, set up the team's ad hoc offseason training program.

Former Falcons linebacker Coy Wire, who orchestrated the team’s offseason program last year during the lockout, said the team does not have a bounty program.

Wire made the statement to the Buffalo News while discussing the bounty program that was in place with the Bills under Gregg Williams.

He also played for Mike Mularkey and Dick Jauron in Buffalo and said that neither coach had a bounty system.

During his tenure as defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, Williams rewarded players for big plays and also for knocking players out of games, the NFL announced on Friday. Williams, who was recently hired as the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, admitted to the allegations and apologized in a statement.

In addition to Wire’s claims that the Bills’ had a bounty system, The Washington Post, reported that Williams had a bounty system in place while he was the Redskins defensive coordinator.

Williams was Buffalo’s head coach from 2001 through 2003. Wire was selected in the third round (97th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft and said the program was in place when he arrived.

Wire, 6-0, 225 pounds, compiled 206 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and six passes defensed in nine NFL seasons between the Bills and Falcons. He was released by the Falcons in September.

Here’s what Wire told The Buffalo News.

During his time as Buffalo Bills head coach, Gregg Williams promoted cash bonuses for delivering hits that seriously injured opponents, former safety Coy Wire told The Buffalo News.

“There was financial compensation,” Wire said.

Three other defensive players from that era, speaking to The News on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a bounty system existed during Williams’ time with the Bills. Two of those players said cash bonuses were paid for “knockout shots” that sent opponents out of games.

A 2001 Stanford graduate with a sociology degree, Wire is a tireless reader with deeply held religious beliefs. His academic pursuits, coupled with a life-threatening neck injury in 2007, have led him to study the powers of the mind.

He was selected by his teammates for the Ed Block Courage Award winner in 2009 for being an inspiration to the squad.

Wire has been working on book, “Change Your Mind: 10 Unconventional Secrets to Retrain Your Brain” which is scheduled to be released this month.

With the league emphasizing player-safety, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to deliver a severe punishment to the Saints.

Wire believes that would be a nice start.

“Goodell has to make an example of this,” Wire said. “All that we know now with brain trauma and head injuries, this isn’t just taking players out of a game. Significant changes have to be made to protect our players. A precedent has to be set now; otherwise, [Goodell] condones it.

“Things have to change. Football will always be football. There will be big hits. I’m saying there’s no need to ruin the livelihood of another man and cause harm to his family and children. That malicious intent doesn’t need to be a part of the way we play.”

The Falcons and the Saints have been bitter rivals since both teams entered the league in the late 1960s as expansion teams.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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81 comments Add your comment

Ball hawk

March 4th, 2012
8:22 pm

This was a good read. At first you kinda hate to see some of the old school disappearing but Coy is right, it has to change.

C

March 4th, 2012
8:45 pm

The Saints deserve every bi of what is coming to them.

OC

March 4th, 2012
8:49 pm

I will only mention two examples of NFL players Roger Godell has fined for their “hits” in recent years – James Harrison & Duante Robinson. Remember I only named 2 left out Haynesworth, Suh, etc. So what is my point ? You know where this is going !!!! Those fines/suspensions pale in comparison to what Godell HAS to do to Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, etc for their blatant violations of the rules and the principles Godell insists on.

laofalcon

March 4th, 2012
9:00 pm

Wow i cant believe this, what did just happen? Dont you think Mr defensive coordinator of St Louis will do it again?

Mr. Swamp Man

March 4th, 2012
9:03 pm

HAHA, the rest of the rest of lege is scared, we will still make greg williams do the bounty sisten WHO DAT

JSS

March 4th, 2012
9:04 pm

The league has deeper problem than the Saints and what they did/or did not do to end this practice. Those crying for blood thinking it is “come up-ins” are missing the broader picture. Certain people have been saying it since day one of Goodell’s naming to the head spot that there were broader and darker issues in the under belly of how the NFL operates. I don’t trust the commissioner or his team to come clean on these matters. Set up a independent commission and give them the power of federal subpoena and get real answers.

Truedat

March 4th, 2012
9:06 pm

We are talking about the Saints. D lineman testing postive for steroids, no punishment. Steroid and other drugs being sold and provided in the Saints organization, little or no punishment, this big report comes out just after Greg Williams no longer works there… my guess is that they will say he’s gone now, we are really sorry and all will be forgiven.

Rollo Lawson

March 4th, 2012
9:09 pm

Nah, you don’t say!!

Rollo Lawson

March 4th, 2012
9:12 pm

As sorry as our defense has been the last few years, the bounty probably would have gone uncollected anyway.

Rollo Lawson

March 4th, 2012
9:19 pm

Word is, the falcons had a bounty system in place. But it kept rolling over every week like powerball, so they discontinued it.

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 4th, 2012
10:15 pm

“He also played for Mike Mularkey and Dick Jauron in Buffalo and said that neither coach had a bounty system.”

“In addition to Wire’s claims that the Bills’ had a bounty system, ”

SO WHICH IS IT

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 4th, 2012
10:16 pm

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

March 4th, 2012
10:19 pm

SORRY MISSED THE 2ND PARAGRAPH.

FIRE SUND

4dabirds

March 4th, 2012
10:21 pm

The NFL is nothing but a hypocrite. They call the Saints out now, but the refs turned a blind eye and even helped the Saints with no calls and ticky tack calls in their SB year. They allowed the Saints to tee off on Favre in the NFCCG. They called a bogus defensive holding call on Peterson and took a great interception away from Grimes that year to help the Saints beat the Falcons. I love the NFL, but their integrity is not one of the reasons for it.

stan

March 4th, 2012
10:40 pm

UNBELIEVABLE….I BETCHA THE COMMISH ONLY GIVES A PAT ON THE HAND…..I BEEN A FAN OF THE NFL MY WHOLE LIFE BUT I HAVE TO SAY THE IS SUCH A DISGRACE….YOU WOULD THINK THE MONEY WOULD BE ENOUGH BUT I GUESS NOT…..BAN PAYTON AND WILLIAMS…..YOU DID PETE ROSE!!!

um

March 4th, 2012
11:12 pm

Wow, just another reason to hate the Aints

mark

March 4th, 2012
11:12 pm

Remember Matt Ryan’s first rookie game against Tampa Bay? About three head shots? Make’s you think….

D

March 4th, 2012
11:20 pm

Confirms that the Aints are scum. They deserve everything coming at them.

Ryan

March 4th, 2012
11:29 pm

I thought that the Saints were a dirty team back in 09. Gregg Williams said before the NFC title game that they were going to go at Brett Favre hard and take them out. The refs turned their eye to the cheap shots on Favre. The league wanted the aints to go to the Super Bowl because of hurricane katrina. It puts an asterisk next to their Super Bowl title. As if I could hate them anymore…. Drop the hammer Roger!!!! This ruins the integrity of the game..

what,what,what??

March 4th, 2012
11:30 pm

maybe,maybe we need one.

Ed H.

March 5th, 2012
1:05 am

This stuff has been going on for years. Why spazz over it now. Why was it ok for Buddy Ryan to do it back in the day?

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

Najeh Davenpoop

March 5th, 2012
1:38 am

“Word is, the falcons had a bounty system in place. But it kept rolling over every week like powerball, so they discontinued it.”

LMAO

Najeh Davenpoop

March 5th, 2012
1:39 am

If you think Gregg Williams is the only coach that had a bounty system, I guess you probably think Barry Bonds is the only one who did steroids and Tim Donaghy was the only ref on the take.

Sly Ty

March 5th, 2012
2:44 am

Najeh Davenpoop im sure Williams isn’t the only one who has done this. However, he and the saints got caught after being given specific warning to discontinue the bounty system. The punishment will be unprecedented and extremely severe.

Sly Ty

March 5th, 2012
2:48 am

@Najeh Davenpoop: There will be fines, lost draft picks, and possibly even lowering the Salary Cap ceiling of the Saints for the next season. $500,000 to 2 million Salary Cap ceiling reduction against the Saints ensuring that the entire league think hard about maintaining such dangerous programs.

Sly Ty

March 5th, 2012
3:34 am

I am sure several teams have done something like this, but the Saints were warned and investigated over a 3 year period. I love the Falcons, and I am glad Coy Wire confirmed that our current coaching staff did not have a system like this. Brees has been Franchised, and this bounty system will DisenFranchise the Saints. It is darn shame.

Get Real

March 5th, 2012
5:15 am

Football is suppose to be a game for modern day gladiators. Goodell is ruining the game with the new rules. Targeting ect… Taking highlight plays and turning them into penalties. If you don’t want to get hit, stay off the field. Throw away your jock strap and start playing some pansy game like golf. As for these bounties its sad thats what it takes to motivate players to do their jobs. IMO all players should be signed to a base salary and performance incentives should be where you make the big bucks. Either produce or draw the league minimum. That way you’d free up a lot money to pay medical cost for true gladiators that give it their all.

E

March 5th, 2012
5:17 am

The falcons could’ve had a bounty program who in the HELL would have been the bounty when they rare got any hits with all those missed tackles. That’s funny Cory Wire!! they would not have bounties if it was legal with all those SOFT A** players………

A fan

March 5th, 2012
5:48 am

What is the reall differences between an incentive heavy contract, and a bounty system. I’m sure the verbage is different, but the intent isn’t. And is anyone believing that during some of our biggest games, and there wasn’t some inducement for getting out of in certain positions. Gentlemen’s agreements and such. The players have evolved by training to do these tings, and so you want the coackes gone now? Will the teachings go just as soon. If you believe so, then we should do this to our government. Also we need to take down every entitty that has incentives. I’m a falcon fan, and I think Sean Payton is a good guy. Greg has done this with at least th ree teams and we wanted him to work for us at one point. Where did the money come from? The players.

Get Real

March 5th, 2012
6:15 am

Supposedly in the Saints situation it came from players, in Buffalo it came from fines imposed from violations of team rules.
If the Buzzards aka Falcons had a bounty system it would have been 6 figures plus based on their play or lack of. Glad the coordinators are gone hopefully a lot of the players will get a ticket out of town too.

Paddy

March 5th, 2012
6:57 am

Untill we see what the Commish does on this subject, it is unfair to rip him. This is a very serious problem and must be tough sanctions to follow.

Nativebird

March 5th, 2012
6:57 am

And if you think Sean Peyton did not know and condone the Saints illegal bounty system, your just lying to yourself. Stripping of their Superbowl championship is not out of the realm. cheating is cheating.

ZACK

March 5th, 2012
7:05 am

Remember Peyton giving up some of salary to Williams to make sure he would come to New Orleans?!?!? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…………..

Ackshun

March 5th, 2012
7:50 am

If I was Goodell I wouild vacate the Saints championship, hold them out of the draft and free agency this year and ban Coach Williams for life. The reason, this strategy was pivotal to the Saints winning the championship game versus the Vikings in 2010. It’s wrong and it can’t be tolerated.

I usually just read but....

March 5th, 2012
8:01 am

“They call the Saints out now, but the refs turned a blind eye and even helped the Saints with no calls and ticky tack calls in their SB year”
RIGHT!!!
They should have left that “under sea level cesspool” just like Katrina fixed it. Instead, the NFL and everybody else in the country has made a “national sympathy case” out of the area. Even paid the cost of rebuillding an under sealevel city to have it destroyed again. STUPID!
I regret the loss of innocent life there, but anyone else building in such an area would have been on their own to take the loss.
trash town full of trash

Larry

March 5th, 2012
8:04 am

What a bunch of dummies.

Roger Goodell is the best commissioner in professional sports. He has courage, he doesn’t allow nonsense, he is swift and decisive, and he is easily the most respected commissioner in professional sports. He is the antithesis of that spineless, goofball, puppet, Bud Selig.

He will gather the facts, and if substantiated, he will punish both the Saints and Williams accordingly. He will not cave in like baseball did with Ryan Braun over a “technicality.”

More people watched the Super Bowl than any other program in history, and Goodell’s superbly run machine called the NFL is why. Quite candidly, anyone that criticizes Goodell business expertise and operations skills sounds pretty dumb and ignorant about leadership.

Or maybe you’re still mad about his swift and severe punishment he handed our to your boy that beat, drowned and electrocuted innocent, trusting dogs.

waynester

March 5th, 2012
8:11 am

“all players should be signed to a base salary and performance incentives should be where you make the big bucks” Get Real
Interesting idea, but would you enjoy the same arrangement at YOUR job? Would I? Probably not, but perhaps that’s why our country is in it’s current decline–a sense of entitlement coupled with greed. I know the Players’ Union would defecate golden nuggets if such a proposal ever came to pass, and I know some owners and GMs would cheat like hell–oh, waitaminnit, they do that NOW…..

AlanFalcon

March 5th, 2012
8:11 am

Williams should be disbard from the NFL for life , Payton and any other head coaches that Williams coached under should be required to sit out the entire season and given a hefty fine, the IRS can then go to work and collect unpaid taxes and team owners should be placed under an edict of losing their franchise if this persisit in the future. I do believe at this time that any players that choose to participate with other players in this type of gambling should also be disbard from the NFL for life.

Draft choices should be taken away from each and every team where proof exist that this occured.

N ough said, clean the leauge up for those fans that enjoy real football, street league rules such as these and the one’s that exist in pro basketball should not be allowed to exist.

Sid

March 5th, 2012
8:11 am

JSS

March 4th, 2012
9:04 pm
The league has deeper problem than the Saints and what they did/or did not do to end this practice………..
****************************************
What is this………misdirection and illusion? Smoking guns and mirrors? Saints and what they did/or did not do? To end the practice? Broader picture? Darker issues since Goodell arrived? Certain people? Man you are more full of it than that Najedavenpoop (no diesrepect meant to you Poop) fella.

And it’s not come upins……………..or are you idealizing the Fish House dude? You’re not even subtle trying to put spin on this knuckleball.

Jimmy Crack

March 5th, 2012
8:31 am

Laissez Les Tetes Roulez

biz

March 5th, 2012
8:32 am

Greg Williams is gunna get JACKED UP!!! 3 years ago (or less) the media glorified this type of behavior. Now….not so much.

Sid

March 5th, 2012
8:52 am

Look, we’ve all known the Saints play dirty, not new information. But I want to know if anyone else thinks the hit that took out Ovie Mughelli for the season (possibly career ending) wasn’t a bounty hit. If not a paid hit I have no doubt that Delmas took a direct shot to his knee at an angle that would almost certainly cause injury. Bounty or no bounty, it was intentional.

[...] football players say it happens everywhere. Former Falcons linebacker Coy Wire said it didn’t happen in Atlanta. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe Wire and I don’t think it’s happening [...]

Vance

March 5th, 2012
9:36 am

The bounty has been going on for years. The game is violent especially with the size of some of the players going 100 miles an hour. However, when there is intentional harm to a player that has nothing to do with the play towards the head or knee, it becomes criminal. These players have families and those big contracts don’t always pay off. Some of the Saints games this year and last got a little out of hand. It was so obvious that they need to look at the refs as well. Wonder if it was that NO VooDoo when actually it was cash floating around the dome.

David

March 5th, 2012
9:53 am

Well we all already knew the Saints have no class and their fans show the lack of class of the fan base every time they come here to play. I will no longer even go to the Falcons game when the Saints are here. But you watch, the Saints will only get their hand slapped for this. We still have the Katrina sympathy thing going on and man does it show. And it will show up again here as well. Sigh……….

Darren Corleyl

March 5th, 2012
9:53 am

you falcons are sore losers, the Saints won the superbowl fair and square. You all are just mad because the falcons have not won a SB will never win won. Falcons play dirty as well, the Saints have been beating yall the last couple years in the Georgia Dome, stop complaining and get rid of Ryan and those other clowns. Get it in your head Saints are a superbowl team.

PlanB

March 5th, 2012
10:13 am

Hard hitting is one thing. Head hunting and career knee injuries is another thing and should not be accepted but we seem to be living in world where common sense is no longer used. I’ve seen blows to QB’s head not called. I’ve seen a hand barely touch a QB’s head and is called. Common sense should make the rule and refs calls based on judgement of how hard the hit to the head was but we no longer have people who can make these calls.
It’s like our school leaders and zero tolerance. No common sense makes it easier for them. If a 17 year old comes to school with an automatic weapon, that person is suspended. If a 6 year old kid comes to school with a 2″ rubber army man toy that has a rubber gun, that kid is suspended. We no longer have good leadership.
I hope this won’t be the case with Goodell. I hope he doesn’t let the sympathy of a Katrina victim cesspool city make the penality any less. Yes cesspool due to the citizens raping and robbing and I believe killing each other while being housed in the very stadium the Aints play. Only animals act this way.

abby normal

March 5th, 2012
10:18 am

There is no place in football (or any sport) for a coach like Gregg Williams. How much would he have paid for a “death-shot” on another player?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 5th, 2012
10:18 am

“Williams should be disbard from the NFL for life”

He’s a lawyer?