Former Falcons player accuses Buccaneers of having their own BountyGate

Donald Penn accused the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of purposefully trying to hurt Atlanta Falcons players back in the early 2010s.
Donald Penn accused the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of purposefully trying to hurt Atlanta Falcons players back in the early 2010s. / Al Messerschmidt/GettyImages

One of the biggest stains on the NFL over the last few decades was the New Orleans Saints BountyGate scandal that rocked the league's reputation.

We all know what happened, and the fact that the Saints were the ones behind one of the most embarrassing and downright dangerous incidents in NFL history isn't surprising to Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. To be lumped in with them by another division rival is a low blow that truly came out of nowhere.

Former Atlanta Falcons star John Abraham recently went on The Water Boyz podcast and leveled a pretty serious accusation against the Buccaneers. He claimed that back in the early 2010s, he was tipped off about Buccaneers players having an order from coaches to purposefully hurt members of the Falcons offense.

Not only did Abraham accuse Tampa Bay of having a bounty system, he said that Donald Penn was the one who warned him about it.

Did the Greg Schiano Buccaneers have a bounty out on Falcons players?

Here's what Abraham said he heard from Penn before a game:

“[Penn] was like, ‘Hey man, be careful out here. The coaches told us to hurt you all,” Abraham said. “I was like, ‘Stop playing.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, they told us to hurt y’all. So we’re going to be going extra. After the whistle, we’re going to be doing everything to try to mess with y’all.'”

All of this apparently happened under the watch of Greg Schiano, which wasn't exactly the best and most respectable years in franchise history. JoeBucsFan asked Penn about the accusation, though, and he vehemently denied it ever happened.

"Penn acknowledged he’s a friend of Abraham but said Abraham’s comments about an order from Bucs coaches to hurt players are completely ridiculous and dirty play was never even implied in Bucs’ player meetings with coaches," JoeBucsFan reported.

Schiano was the same guy who had the Bucs rush a victory formation like they were trying to stop the Brotherly Shove, so it's not like this is completely unbelievable. Then again, there's a difference between playing too hard and trying to hurt someone on purpose, and it's a line that nobody can assume will be crossed until it is.

Penn denying the accusation should challenge it enough to render it nothing more than a nasty thing a division rival said, but it still stinks to hear. It's unlikely that anything else comes of this, but it's proof of how deep rivalries go that something like this would be said in the first place.

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