Barry Switzer told me Friday that tight-lipped coaches aren't trying to protect the health of their players. He said it was all about the game plan.
But truth is, Switzer is a little bit of an innocent in these kinds of things. He finds it hard to believe that coaches could act like Gregg Williams.
“I never heard of anybody” playing the bounty game, Switzer said, even though he coached the Dallas Cowboys four seasons. “We wanted to play the game the way it was supposed to be played. No way would I endorse that.
“I would be disappointed in the character of some of my players' buying into the bounty system. I guess some people are obsessed with winning.”
Switzer is even slow to believe the truth about Buddy Ryan's bounties. The 1989 Cowboys said they were told by the Eagles that their coach, Ryan, had offered $200 for knocking out kicker Luis Zendejas and $500 for a KO of quarterback Troy Aikman.
Those bounty stories never have been proven, but Ryan's son, Rob, when coordinating OSU's defenses in the late 1990s, talked a lot about quarterback removal. Not QB stoppage, but QB removal. Knocking out a quarterback from the game.
That mentality, to defeat an opponent by harming an opponent, predates Gregg Williams.
The blackhearted long have been with us in football. But coaches have more reason than ever to keep their teams' injuries to themselves.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.