Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/2/12

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on dejected from the bench in the second half against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Maybe Kurt Warner wasnt so crazy to retire after that playoff game in 2010. Not if a stunning report released Friday proves to be true. An NFL investigation found that former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams administered a "bounty" program from 2009-11, funded primarily by players. Between 22 and 27 Saints defensive players (as well as Williams) were involved, in violation of NFL rules. Among the more sickening points laid out in the report: Players were paid 1,500 for a knockout and 1,000 for a "cart-off" -- and the payouts would double or triple come playoff time. The investigation by the league's security department determined that an improper "pay for performance" program included "bounty" payments to players for inflicting injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a game. One of the games in question was Warners final game with the Cardinals before his retirement, an NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Saints in New Orleans. In that game, Warner was knocked out of the game (he later returned) on a big hit from Saints defensive end Bobby McCray after he threw an interception, and he showed concussion-like symptoms afterward. Warner has hinted that concerns for his long-term health played a role in his decision to retire after that game. He told KTAR 620 AM on Friday that the report was "disappointing, but I won't say I'm completely surprised," although he emphasized that McCrays hit was within the rules at the time. Asked if that game led him to retire, Warner said: "It was a nice exclamation point on it, but I had known well into that season." The NFLs findings, corroborated by multiple independent sources, have been presented to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will determine the appropriate discipline, ESPN reported. The investigation reviewed 18,000 documents totaling more than 50,000 pages. "It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated," Goodell said. "We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety, and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it."
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