Retired NFL safety Coy Wire says he was part of a small group of Buffalo Bills players who pooled money on a weekly basis and rewarded themselves for hurting opponents during his rookie season in 2002.
Though the Bills were at that time coached by Gregg Williams, Wire insists the ''pay-for-play pool'' was solely player-driven.
''It wasn't a whole team thing. It was just some guys that took things too far,'' Wire told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. ''We rewarded each other for that, and that was wrong. That was crossing the line.''
In a story published by The Buffalo News on Sunday, Wire told the paper there was an environment of ''malicious intent'' in place when he arrived. He also said that when a player made a big hit that hurt an opponent, ''it was commended and encouraged.''
Still, he said Thursday, financial compensation for big hits -- which he says he never received -- came only through the players.
Wire spoke in the wake of an NFL investigation that last week ...