Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington was already not a fan of New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper, calling him a dirty player after last year’s game at LP Field.
So Washington didn't seem too surprised that Harper’s name has come up again as being paid last season as part of the Saints bounty scandal. Harper's and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar’s names are heard on a tape of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams speaking about payouts for hits against the Detroit Lions in the playoffs, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.com.
Washington said he didn’t know if Harper had any extra cash incentives that day against the Titans, but did know the safety’s play definitely crossed the line vs. Tennessee and in games he saw of him on film prior to that game on Dec. 11.
“I don’t know if I could tell that that was something he was trying to do in order to be rewarded for it on a financial end. I’m not gonna say that,” Washington said. “But some of the things I was watching from film, and some of the things he did from our game, it was just downright dirty.
“It’s already a brutal game, it’s already a gladiator sport. To go out there and give it your all and to have someone there pulling the stuff he was pulling, it makes us look bad as a league as a whole. It’s already something where you can go out there and get paralyzed, and to have someone out there playing like that, it makes it even worse.”
Washington and the Titans’ big problem with Harper from that game last December was an intentional yank on Damian Williams’ face mask to save a touchdown on a 54-yard catch and run. Earlier in that game, Harper had been penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck.
“He was just walking over guys, kneeing them, dirty things like pushing guys in the back while they’re not paying attention,” Washington said.
“Those are the types of things I was seeing on film, and then after what happened with Damian, face masks (penalties) are gonna happen, but I saw the picture on the Internet of the exact situation was what happened. Damian’s whole body was parallel to the ground. That’s how hard he grabbed Damian’s facemask, and on top of that you walk over a guy and knee him with your leg, that’s another sign of disrespect. You don’t do that.
“It’s already bad that you grabbed the guy’s facemask. We’ll take the penalty and go on from that, but you walk over a guy and knee him with your leg, that’s a whole other level. You don’t play dirty like that.”
Washington termed the Saints bounty program as “unfortunate,” and said he hopes the situation can be cleaned up.
“I hope as a league we’re able to move on from it and make a better name for ourselves,” he said.