Steve Gleason says Gregg Williams 'went over the line' with bounty scandal
Former Saints player Steve Gleason, like virtually everyone outside that locker room that day, was most appalled that no one questioned Williams. "The real problem was no one seemed shocked," he says. 'There was no discussion of, 'Wow, did we just hear that?''
|Gleason speaks out against Williams and the bounty scandal. (Getty Images)|
Steve Gleason spent eight seasons with the Saints, the last coming in 2007. He's probably best remembered for the blocked punt against the Falcons during a Sept. 2006 game in the team's return to the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. Some people called that the most important play in team history.
Five years later, Gleason went public with the news that he's suffering from ALS, and in the months since, he's been a fixture in and around the Saints as the organization raises awareness about his condition. Unfortunately, Gleason was unwittingly caught up in the bounty scandal that resulted in suspensions and fines, the harshest going to former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the man behind the pay-for-play scheme.
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While shooting a documentary about Gleason, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon caught Williams on tape before last January's playoff game against the 49ers encouraging his players to target Frank Gore's head among other things.
"We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Williams said at the time. "We want him running sideways. We ... want ... his ... head ... sideways. … We're gonna swarm. We're gonna dominate the line of scrimmage. And we're gonna kill the [expletive] head. Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head … continue to touch and affect the head."
Gleason, who had been mostly quiet on the matter through the spring and summer, will finally weigh in Tuesday night when he appears on HBO's Real Sports.
"When [Williams] specified the other players' injuries, that to me, was over the line," Gleason says in the HBO interview according to USAToday.com.
Gleason, like virtually everyone outside that locker room that day, was most appalled that no one questioned Williams. "The real problem was no one seemed shocked," he says. "There was no discussion of, 'Wow, did we just hear that?'"
In April, weeks after the bounty scandal first broke, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews echoed many of the sentiments Gleason brings up Tuesday.
"When you start jeopardizing people's future and their livelihood, I think you're taking it to a whole other level," Matthews said at the time. "It's unfortunate because I think at the end of the day we're able to put into perspective and we're just happy to walk off the field wins or losses aside."
This is certainly true for Gleason, who is learning to live with ALS. "I'm trying to be an example of overcoming the ultimate adversity and continuing to live and be an example," he says.
Williams, meanwhile, is traveling the world as part of a mission of personal growth and discovery with the hopes of eventually returning to the NFL.
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