ELI: BOUNTIES ARE "NOT WHAT THIS GAME IS ABOUT"
"Eli Manning has taken his share of big hits in his eight NFL seasons. He
knows they’re part of the game, and he knows injuries are part of it,
But what the New Orleans Saints allegedly did – paying players to
purposely injure opponents – crossed way over a line that the two-time Super
Bowl MVP said should never have been crossed.
“I know the importance of
a defense trying to get to the quarterback, get sacks, get hits on the
quarterback. That’s part of the game,” Manning said. “And I hear what Coach
Coughlin tells our defense about getting hits and I’m kind of sitting there and
I say ‘I know the opposing teams are saying the same thing about
“But when you start talking about injuring a guy and carting him
off and trying to end his season or career, that’s not what this game is about.
I think we should have more respect for the game than that. It can’t be a part
With that, Manning became one of the first NFL players –
and the most prominent – to speak out strongly against the Saints’ actions in
the wake of the BountyGate scandal. He said he can’t remember any specific dirty
hit from the Saints from when the Giants lost 49-24 in New Orleans on Nov. 28,
so Manning doesn’t know if their former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams,
ever put a bounty on him.
Just the idea of a bounty being placed on
another player, though, seemed to make him mad.
“Obviously it is a big
deal, what’s going on,” Manning said. “It’s not good for football and can’t be a
part of football. I know (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell will do a good job
figuring all this out and making sure this doesn’t happen again.”
sentiment was echoed by some of Manning’s teammates, who joined him at a Times
Square theatre on Monday night to watch the premiere of the DVD of the Giants’
Super Bowl championship season. Safety Antrel Rolle, who insisted the Giants’
defense has no bounty system in place, said the Saints’ alleged actions are “not
“You never want to go out there with the intention to
actually injure another opponent,” he said. “You do what you’ve got to do within
the fine lines of football.”
The Saints allegedly stepped over those
lines. In fact, they may have done it against the Giants when Saints safety Isa
Abdul-Quddus gave receiver Hakeem Nicks a vicious hit that left him with bruised
ribs. Nicks said “The way he was celebrating you would probably think that
(there was a bounty),” but he said he believes there probably
“Some dudes thrive off big hits like that and it gets the
momentum going,” Nicks said. “They’re going to do it. I don’t think that’s going
to change in this game.”