CHOUDRANT, La. (AP) - Former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Doug Williams expressed support for beleaguered Head Coach Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints on Monday.
"I really feel bad for Coach Payton and the Saints," Bradshaw said during his annual fundraising golf tournament for Louisiana Tech University at the Squire Creek Golf and Country Club. "I like Coach Payton. He's a good guy. I hate that this became an issue and I thought the suspension handed down was pretty strong.
"But I can also understand the message that commissioner (Roger Goodell) is trying to send. It's just a bad situation that the Saints' organization has to overcome and move on from and I am confident that they will."
Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season as part of the punishment handed down regarding the Saints' bounty system under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
"Honestly, when this came out, I never gave it much of a thought because football is a rough and tumble game," said Bradshaw, who guided the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles during his Hall of Fame career. "It's hit or be hit. I never knew of any bounties being placed on me when I was playing the game because I just assumed every defender was going to try and tackle the guy with the football as hard as he could. I considered myself as a tough player because you have to be tough to play this game."
Williams, the first African-American quarterback ever to start in a Super Bowl and who guided the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in 1988, said: "I hate it for Coach Payton because I'm a big fan of his.
"It's going to be tough for a while with him gone, but I believe the Saints will get all of their pieces to the puzzle together and come out OK with this situation. They've got a lot of talent on that team. It just might take a little while for everybody to adjust to what has happened."
Asked if he thought bounties were ever placed on him during his career, Williams said, "I never did, but then again I just assumed it was every defender's goal to try and get the quarterback, regardless of what you want to call it.
"You're talking about football. It's a tough game."
When asked about adapting to the loss of their coach, Bradshaw said, "I just can't imagine what it will be like not to have your head coach for an entire season.