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Former NFL player sues Washington Redskins, says he suffered knee injury in bounty incident

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Former NFL linebacker Barrett Green (USA Today Sports Images)

Barrett Green's lawsuit against the Washington Redskins could have some interesting ramifications, if successful.

Green, an NFL linebacker from 2000 to 2005, said his knee was injured by a Redskins player as part of a bounty program. The Associated Press said Green's lawsuit also names former Redskins tight end Robert Royal and former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams – who was once indefinitely suspended by the NFL for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal.

Green said he suffered a knee injury on Dec. 5, 2004 while playing for the New York Giants as the result of an "unusual, outrageous and an obvious cheap shot." He played in just one game in 2005 before retiring.

From 2001-03 Green had at least 70 tackles in each season with the Lions. His first season with the Giants was in 2004.

According to a Daily Press story from right after the injury, Royal lined up as a receiver and delivered a crack-back block (when an offensive player lined up wide comes down and blocks a defensive player near the line of scrimmage who doesn't see him), which drew a 15-yard penalty. According to's play-by-play account, it came on a 2-yard run by Clinton Portis in the third quarter.

"A real cheap block," Green told the New York Post, according to the Daily Press article. "They lined up (Royal) at receiver and he came in and cut me from a receiver position. Why? They wanted me off the field. They knew what they were doing. They wanted me off the field and they did it."

According to Green, Royal told Giants linebacker Nick Greisen he was sorry about the play. "Ain't no apologies," Green said. "We'll see him again next year."

In all sports, in-game injuries resulting from penalized hits, fights or cheap shots almost never end up being taken to a court of law. Given the publicity that the Saints' bounty scandal when Williams coached the defense (and to a lesser extent, the Redskins' alleged bounty system under Williams), this is an unusual lawsuit.

The Redskins were cleared by the NFL of any wrongdoing when the league couldn't find evidence to show there was a bounty system in place, and the bounty scandals have focused on defensive players trying to injure offensive players — not the other way around. Also, Williams wasn't even Royal's coach so it's hard to figure out why the two are connected in the lawsuit. So while it remains uncertain if Green's lawsuit will be successful, it could certainly get interesting if it went to trial.


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