August 26, 2014

Hanford Dixon: Browns had a “bounty” system

In his recently released book, former Cleveland Browns defensive back Hanford Dixon — affectionately known as the “Top Dawg” — says that the mid-80s team had a players only bounty system that rewarded members for hard hits.

“The object wasn’t to maim or cause serious injury, but to knock (an opponent) out of the game,” writes Dixon. “These pools would be maybe a couple of hundred bucks, not really that much money.”

The operation in question did not include the coaching staff. Bill Livingston of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, while discussing the book in his most recent column, stated that if of Sam Rutigliano, Marty Schottenheimer and Bud Carson were aware of the bounty pools but turned the other cheek, they had “plenty of company” as the whole league was “looking the other way” when it came to player injuries.

This, of course, all comes in the wake of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that has claimed headlines throughout the course of the entire season, leading to suspensions, reversals, and nearly as much finger-pointing as was seen a year ago during the labor-based lockout.

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NFL News: Browns’ Fujita Not Named in Bounty Affidavit

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita may be one step closer to having his name cleared in the New Orleans Saints bounty-based scandal that has permeated his life for the last several months.

Per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, in a signed affidavit turned over to the NFL as it prepared for its meeting with suspended “Bountygate” players, gave a lengthy statement on the origins of the Saints’ pay-for-performance program. Fujita’s name does not appear anywhere in said affidavit.

In 2009, per the testimony, Sains defensive captains Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith “endorsed the program,” made initial contributions to the pool of funds, and would contribute additional funds as players were subject to financial penalties for penalties, missed opportunities to make a big play, and mental errors. Players then reportedly received payments for sacks, interceptions, fumbles caused, interceptions caused, and defensive touchdowns.

Fujita was suspended for three games in the initial fallout of the scandal, but has since had the punishment vacated by a three-person panel. The 33-year old played in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, recording four tackles. He was scheduled to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL officials on Tuesday to discuss their suspensions, but the meeting will be rescheduled.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 2: Winners and Losers]

NFL News: Browns LB Scott Fujita Suspended Three Games

For his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has been handed a three-game suspension from the National Football League.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King, Fujita, a known philanthropist and well-respected veteran, said that while he contributed money for teammate performance and “big plays,” it was never in attempt to injure the opposition.

Fujita’s former teammate Johnathan Vilma has been suspended for the entire 2012 NFL season. Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith were suspended for eight games and four games, respectively. Usama Young, another former member of the New Orleans Saints, was not punished for his association.

Through two injury-plagued seasons with the Browns, Fujita, 33, has amassed 101 total tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. Having one of the worst run-stopping defenses in the NFL while employing a relatively older linebacking corps, the Browns used multiple 2012 NFL Draft selections on linebackers, James-Michael Johnson out of Nevada and Texas’ Emmanuel Acho.

Though suspended without pay for three games (costing him $644,118), Fujita can participate in offseason and preseason activities, including games, with the Cleveland Browns. The player is expected to appeal.

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