Former Saints safety Darren Sharper flatly denied the findings of the NFL’s investigation that the team instituted a “bounty” program between 2009-2011, telling Frank Tadych of NFL.com on Friday that players never intentionally tried to injure opponents.
“I think this is something that, from when I got in the league in 1997, has happened thousands and thousands of times over,” Sharper said about payments among players for big plays. “It’s ridiculous that someone is trying to say that we made bounties on knocking guys out, when basically all it was is that when a guy gets an interception, then he might get paid. That’s something that guys do amongst themselves.”
Sharper explained players regularly set up payments among themselves for big plays such as interceptions, sacks and turnovers, something that’s engrained in the culture of the NFL.
“That’s something you’re not going to prevent,” Sharper said. “That’s something that’s just part of guys being guys and playing football.”
Sharper said the line was drawn at big plays, and said there was never pre-meditated intent to injure opposing players.
“No, positively no,” he said. “With an exclamation point. It’s about making big plays in games.”