Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/27/12
The Gregg Williams-led bounty program has been far reaching in NFL circles and more than once it has targeted Minnesota Vikings' quarterbacks. Brett Favre received a lot of attention after being battered by the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship game, but apparently another Minnesota signal-caller had been targeted years before. A report by David Elfin at the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., cites several anonymous players that former Vikings' quarterback Brad Johnson was targeted by the Washington Redskins' defense, then led by Williams, during the 2006 season opener. "Gregg came in and dropped 15,000 on the table and said, 'Brad Johnson doesn't finish this game,'" Elfin quoted one player as saying, while another player backed up the assertion. Johnson, who once played for the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder, wasn't surprised by the accusations, but was caught off-guard by the bounty system. "I knew at the time something was going on, that they wanted to take me out," Johnson said. "I had heard wind of it. I didn't know it was presented in terms of money." The NFL had investigated Williams and the Saints due to more recent allegations and came down hard last week, suspending Williams indefinitely for his role in the bounty program. New Orleans coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season and the team was fined 500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks. But reports say Williams had been running bounty programs long before his time in New Orleans. The accusations have been met with disbelief by some NFL players and dismissed by others. Johnson said he never recalled hearing about bounties, even during his time in Washington. "I honestly had never heard about money to take a player out of a game," Johnson said. "I always heard things like the first tackle within the 20-yard line, or who caused the first fumble. Money to take a player out was something I had never heard talked about before. My coaches were always very respectful of the game. It's shocking to hear there was money value placed on something of that sort." Johnson, who battled injuries throughout his career, wasn't knocked out of the game in 2006 and didn't feel like he was unnecessarily targeted. "I didn't think there was a dirty, cheap shot taken at me, nothing out of the ordinary," Johnson said. "Honestly, you expect teams to blitz. You expect big hits. It's part of the game. I wasn't thinking about anything extreme or money or things at that time." Regardless of whether he was a target or not, Johnson finds it hard to believe anyone would maliciously injure another player. "I can't imagine it," Johnson said. "Injures are a part of the game. It's your chance to make money and you hate to see someone to do down. Injuries happen and it can be in minicamp, training camp, freak accidents; but, taking a cheap shot at someone? I can't imagine someone wanting to live with that, a coach or player doing it on purpose."Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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