49ers Coaching Legend Bill Walsh Accused of Bounty System

A former opponent accused coaching legend Bill Walsh of offering bounties.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Did the 49ers offer bounties, too? Bill Walsh stands accused.

    Every football coach wants to reward good plays and to have the game plan go smoothly -- and many players' contracts are full of bonuses for sacks, interceptions and suchlike.

    But to what extent are coaches willing to go -- and is this a "bounty system" of the kind currently embroiling the NFL in a semi-scandal?

    The New Orleans Saints currently stand accused of running a bounty system, in which players were paid to tackle, take out, or otherwise hurt the opposition. And Bill Walsh, the late legendary Hall-of-Fame 49ers' coach, was accused of running such a system, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

    Dexter Manley, who used to play for the Redskins, accused Walsh of running a bounty program on a radio show. "Yes he did," said Manley, a former defensive end. "He had bounty programs."

    Former 49er players and Walsh's son know what Manley is talking about -- but it's not a bounty program.

    For starters, Manley is mad because he was taken out by a legal block on a play that Walsh drew up, according to the newspaper. Players had identified Manley as the opposing player to block hard -- but to block him clean and not to hurt him, and that's what happened, the newspaper reported.

    Between 22 and 27 players on the Saints may be involved with payouts for hits on opponents between 2009 and 2011 under former defensive coach Gregg Williams.

    The 49ers never racked up personal fouls or roughing penalties the way a team with a bounty system would do, the newspaper noted. And Craig Walsh, the late coach's son, made a good point.

    If Walsh offered cash for hits, "Ronnie Lott would have his own island in the Caribbean by now."