Any time Vikings fans wonder why Cris Carter isn't in the Hall of Fame, he starts talking and gives ammunition for those who think it's personality, not numbers or skill, that have kept him out of the Hall of Fame.
With the talk about Bountygate finally starting to die down, Carter decided to throw gasoline of the fire. Appearing on the Hill & Schlereth radio program on ESPN Radio Tuesday night, Carter admitted to hosts Mike Hill and Mark Schlereth (a former teammate of Bill Romanowski, who would play significantly into the subsequent discussion) that Carter had a bounty program of his own – offering cash to teammates when what he felt cheap shots or threats of cheap shots were delivered his way.
"I'm guilty of it," Carter said Tuesday. "It's the first time I've ever admitted it, but I put a bounty on guys before. I put bounties on guys. The guys tried to take me out, (if) a guy tried to take a cheap shot on me, I put a bounty on him. Right now."
Schlereth asked if it was a money bounty and Carter responded, "absolutely."
Carter identified former NFL problem child Romanowski, a player with a laundry list of infractions, ranging from steroid use to spitting in the face of an opponent, as one such bounty target. Carter claimed that, during pregame warm-ups before a Vikings-Broncos game, Romanowski told him, "I'm gonna end your career, Carter." After the story exploded Wednesday, Romanowski appeared on television and radio to refute the allegations, saying he was an aggressive player, but never made such a pre-game statement.
In defense of his argument, Carter threw Randall McDaniel and Todd Steussie under the bus, claiming that they were the recipients of his bounties. They were paid in the form of dinner or beverages of choice – the "will maim for food" policy doesn't seem to stick with the character of either, but, at this point, it's C.C.'s word against theirs.
For his part, Romanowski vehemently denied any such threat ever took place while appearing on the Dan Patrick Show (a syndicated radio program), Romanowski said Carter was a liar and made up the story.
"It's absolute fiction," Romanowski said. "If he could read my mind in pre-game, maybe he had it right. But I didn't talk before games. I was in the zone. I was focused. I was thinking everything I had to do to help our defense, to help our team win a football game. That's all that mattered."
Romanowski further denounced Carter's comments by saying that, if he was to make such a verbal threat, it would be to a tight end he had to battle with – he famously spit in the face of TE Shannon Sharpe. He claimed Carter was simply jumping on the bandwagon of the bounty discussion, adding that, if there was a bounty placed on him by the Vikings, it didn't work.
Carter maintained that the Vikings used the bounty system as a form of protection – not just for him, but for Randy Moss, Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.
While in the mood for under-the-bus tossing, Carter implied he instituted cash orders of protection for Moss because, according to Carter, when Moss came to the Vikings in 1998, he couldn't do one rep of 225 pounds – the standard strength measure at the Combine.
Carter was back on Hill & Schlereth Wednesday night to tone down some of his rhetoric from the day before – in which he went so far as to say he would put out a bounty today if the players that he despised as a player showed up at the ESPN studio in which Carter is currently employed.
Whether the comments will come back to haunt Carter – whether it be with ESPN or for his bid for the Hall of Fame – he has brought the Vikings into the discussion for no discernable purpose.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Carter puts Vikings under bounty bus
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