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Franco “really disturbed” about bounties

Franco Harris played in an era where defenses were allowed to do just about anything they wanted.

And typically, that’s what they did.

Everything from head slaps to hits to the head to hits to the knees weren’t only practiced, but were legal.

Knowing that, even Steelers Hall of Fame running back said he is “really disturbed” about the recent bounty program put in place by the New Orleans Saints that resulted in suspensions, fines and lost draft picks.

“As ball players, we know that any play can be our last play,” said Harris, who was attending a news conference at the Heinz History Center on behalf of an exhibit set to debut in October. “So you have to respect players for that because we know how physical and damaging this sport is. To have someone go into that bounty capacity, it is very upsetting.”

Harris played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1983 before ending his career in Seattle in 1984. Harris gained more than 12,000 yards, scored 91 touchdowns and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Harris acknowledged during his playing days there was a lot of trash talk about “taking their heads off,” but that was as far as it went.

Former Saints offensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, said in an audio recording that was released last week during a pregame speech that: “Kill the head and the body will die” and “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head.”

To Harris, Williams crossed the line

“All coaches have those types of conversations …” Harris said. “That is nothing new. But I am really disturbed about a bounty being put on someone. Talking the talk and talking trash is one thing and I look at that as part of sports. To me, (bounties) take the sport out of it and make you focus on something else.”

 By Mark Kaboly
 April 10, 2012 – 1:21 p.m.
 @MarkKaboly_Trib

Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

Comments

  1. Scott Walker says:

    Hello Mark,

    I really enjoy reading your Steeler comments in the Tribune. I do however suggest you learn a little more about the facts regarding Joe Paterno before you condemn Franco for standing up for Joe. When the trial is over I hope you will be man enough to admit you were wrong about Joe.

    Thanks,

    Scott Walker
    Lock Haven, PA

  2. David says:

    ….. if it were me, every player involved on the current roster would be fined 10,000 because like one senatoer puts it, how did they not know he was there for the past 6 years….. then from that point, the 3 headed monster, Payton, Loomis, and Vitt, would be given the same equal punishment of 1 year suspensions, and Williams would be banned from ever coaching in the NFL as long as my tenure as NFL commisioner were intact, that said, the organization would be fined 1, million – their entire draft picks would be forfieted and given to the teams that were deemed targeted, then the rest would be given to the teams in that teams division…. Upon returning from the year suspension, the 3 individuals would have to submit a certification accomplishment from anger management classes, and write a 6 paragragh letter detailing their part in the “bounty ” game, and tell me why they should be trusted again by every NFL player, coach, teams, and owners that they still belong in an elite job in America…. EVERY SUSPENSION WOULD BE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, no waiting for a certain date to arrive, ….. this thing Goodell is doing by saying he is willing to give back draft picks at a latter date provided these individuals co operate in any future investigations pertaining to bounties, is a bunch of bull, these are the same guys who made it an effort to hide, lie, and coverup any type of investigation that preceeded this to begin with, what! all of a sudden they can be trusted!, they already lied to the commissioner, isn’t that bad enough to where any fines, suspensions, banning, would defy all logic of trusting these thugs again, I believe in 2nd chances, but throughout this process, there were numerous ” Second Chances ” afforded these thugs, i say, take them to the limits, no back tracking no excuses, to do otherwise would also say that Williams, Loomis, Payton , and Vitt are all above the rules and policies set forth by the commissioner, the NFL.

  3. Imp'n'Arn says:

    This is a non-issue, as far as I am concerned. In the 70′s the ‘Burgh sportswriters routinely wrote that the Steelers defense had to take the Browns/Bengals/Oilers QB out of the game in order to win. And they did. And everyone else tried to do the same. It doesn’t matter if there is a bounty or not. D’s did, and still do, try to take opposing QB’s, RB’s, WR’s out of the game. Just watch NFL net

  4. Imp'n'Arn says:

    to be cont….
    …work’s history of the NFL broadcasts. Or, you can ask Mel Blount or Jack Tatum. The bounty money is inconsequential. It happened. It happens. It will continue to happen. You take out the enemy.

    End of story

  5. james says:

    can we just get along?? lets just hug on the football field, or make it safer just play professional flag football? lets talk about something that does concern the steelers, like, the draft. what do you think about the signing of te, pope? will he do big things, as a big player?? if franco is disturbed, i’m panicking about our progress in freeagency……how do you feel? what do you think??

  6. Imp'n'Arn says:

    White puff of smoke from Steelers HQ announces election of new Pope.

    Nice touch.

    Pope-mobile to follow.

  7. 6 TONS OF STEEL says:

    Fellas this is such a non issue. What the Saints did was not a bounty but an incentive program. You ask any of the old timers what a “bounty” in football was and they will tell you the same thing. A “bounty” was money spent out of a player(
    S) pocket who were a victim at the hands of a malicious player. Therefore if any player
    “Took out” that dirty player, the bounty reward would be paid to him.

  8. 6 TONS OF STEEL says:

    Let’s keep football at being football. I love Franco but let’s not forget that he is a PR type guy now. Franco I’m sure you won’t say nothing about the 70′s juiced up line that opened up seams of daylight for u, so come down off your moral horse and quit talkin outta ur arse about bounties. I still luv ya.-6 Tons

  9. Pants-n-at says:

    Franco Harris: 12120 yds and 91 TD and elected to HOF 6 yrs after retiring. Jerome Bettis: 13662 yds and 91 TD. 7 yrs after retirement, still not in HOF. That is a crime!

  10. K2 says:

    Bettis didn’t have the “Immaculate Reception” ….Just kidding, Bettis will be there soon!!!

  11. Luis says:

    Donnie Shell and LC Greenwood to HOF.

  12. Carl says:

    Now that Dermontti Dawson is going in, the next Steeler that goes in BETTER be Bettis! I think he has gotten robbed the last two years, with Marshall Faulk and now Curtis Martin going in. This year he got totally robbed with Martin getting the vote, and I think that only happened because Dawson is in this class.
    Take a look at the alltime rushing list, Bettis should be in!! Not only is he the best “Big” RB in the history of the game, he is also a 3-time NFL Man of the Year, and he has a SB ring. Why the hell not in yet? Anyways, I do think he gets in next year. I plan on being there when he’s inducted, Bettis is my alltime favorite Steeler/NFL’er!

  13. 6 TONS OF STEEL says:

    Bus is victimized by the fact that the Stillers have so many players in Canton already. Sports writers will be prejudice towards former Stillers players because of that. Bus will be announced next January. Dermonti getting in is long over due. I’m raisin an Arn for Dawson right now. FIX THE O LINE AND QUIT JAGGOFFIN AROUND AND SIGN #17. 7 TO 17 IS A PRETTY THING.-6TONS

  14. 6 TONS OF STEEL says:

    Bus is victimized by the fact that the Stillers have so many players in Canton already. Sports writers will be prejudice towards former Stillers players because of that. Bus will be announced next January. Dermonti getting in is long over due. I’m raisin an Arn for Dawson right now. QUIT JAGGOFFIN AROUND AND SIGN #17. 7 TO 17 IS A PRETTY THING. I was in LA at Dodger Stadium Tnite. Saw a lot of Buccos gear in stadium. Walker and Alvarez can’t hit water if they fell outta a boat. Kudos to Mccloud for 2 spectacular catches in RF and for Barmes for goin yard. Other than that, Buccos stunk up the joint..-6Tons

  15. Paulie Raspa says:

    BOUNTIES– U WANT TO TALK ABOUT BOUNTIES… THIS YEAR YOU HAD SUGGS TAUNTING HINES WARD TO COME OUT AND PLAY— WARD PLAYS—THEN”BOOM” HELMET TO HELMET” HIT FROM CONVICT RAY LEWIS…. NO FLAG–NO FINE –BUT I AM SURE LEWIS WAS REWARDED !!!! THIS WAS A BOUNTY THAT THE LEAGUE NEVER LOOKED INTO– Y NOT?? FOR SOME REASON IT’S ALWAYS LOOKED THE OTHER WAY– BUT WHEN WARD LAID OUT KEITH RIVERS ON A TRUE LEGIT HIT–THE “WARD” RULE WAS STARTED AND ENFORCED!!
    But — let’s look at it– take New England — get Tom Brady out of the game– Who is the Back up & the “O” gameplan is screwed..— Pitt– Get Troy out of the game– Their “D” changes and less risks are taken— NY Jets — take Revis out of the game — The D changes..and their CB’S are given cushion…
    Bounties are in the form of incentives — Get 10+ sacks here is $1,000,00-+ bonus… Olineman— 25 Pancake Blocks or RB runs for 1300+ yds–or QB GETS sacked less than 30 times a Year — $500,000+ –
    But,TO WANT TO GO OUT AND TURN OUT THE LIGHT OF ANOTHER PLAYER CAN BE SCARY AND SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED
    … To me it’s not a bounty stating to your team– RB IS GOOD TODAY– HOLD HIM TO LESS THAN 100YDS –STEAK FOR EVERYONE…. THEIR PASS D IS EXCELLENT– “O” THROW FOR 300 YDS AND RUN FOR 125+ YDS .. FREE ITALIAN MEAL FOR EVERYONE… ETC…

  16. Pete says:

    This is a non-issue? We are talking about a coach or coaches who paid players for deliberately hurting a player bad enough that he must leave the game. What if he was deliberately hurt bad enough his career has ended? This is way beyond the line of getting your players to hit hard enough to knock the snot out of the opponent.

    To have a coach telling players they’ll get rewarded if they take out so-and-so’s ACL is disgusting and definitely not sport. Fully agree with Harris on this one.

  17. John G says:

    Well said Franco. I always liked Franco Harris and think he does not get the credit he deserves for his Hall of Fame career. I thought when Gregg Williams made the lateral move from defensive coordinator of the Saints to defensive coordinator of the Saint Louis Rams before the bounty situation was made public seemed odd to me at that time. I realize him and current Saint Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fischer worked together before but it still seemed odd to me at time in addition to Saint Louis Rams trying to rebuild their team and no where near as good as the Saints. Most NFL assistants don’t take lateral/non promotion coaching jobs
    especially to lesser teams. Williams also was not very well liked by the players as a defensive coordinator with the Redskins and head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Also heard him and Sean Peyton were not the best as friends on the same coaching staff.

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