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Hornung on Saints' bounties: 'Kick them out'

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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It’s been almost 50 years since Paul Hornung served one of the stiffest punishments levied by the National Football League with a one-year suspension for betting on NFL games. In the wake of the New Orleans Saints’ situation, the Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame halfback had plenty to say when asked about former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and dozens of the team’s players being involved in a “bounty” program that paid players for “cart-offs” and “knockouts.” “Well, kick them out. What the hell? Get rid of them. That’s all,” said Hornung, a two-time Pro Bowler who played nine seasons with the Packers. “They made a mistake. You make a mistake, you pay for it. I had to lay out a year. I know what it is. I made a mistake and I was sorry for it. They kicked me out and thank goodness they let me back in after a while. You can’t do those kinds of things. That’s ridiculous. My heavens. The sport is tough enough to play. We have enough guys after a certain age, it’s dangerous having played professional football.” Hornung stressed precaution in terms of player safety in light of increased Alzheimer’s cases and former Packers coach/player Forrest Gregg announcing his Parkinson’s disease, but also acknowledged the NFL can only do so much. “You can’t stop it,” Hornung said. “I don’t care what they put on your helmet or what kind of helmet they make. It’s just the type of game it is. You’re going to have those kind of injuries. You have to play with your head. That’s part of you. The first time you get tackled, what do you do? Your head goes down.” The 76-year-old Hornung will be honored Tuesday at Trinty High School in Louisville, Ky., as part of Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Hometown Hall of Famers.” Leading the presentation will be Will Wolford, a long-time friend and former NFL offensive lineman.

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