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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Mar 2, 2012 - 2:59 pm

Warner says there is no place in NFL for cheap shots

A report has come out alleging that the New Orleans Saints players maintained a bounty program, one that led to them targeting opponents with the intent to injure them.

The NFL began its investigation into the matter in early 2010 after hearing that quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre had been targeted.

Warner, who retired a couple weeks after the Cardinals lost a playoff game to the Saints, said the news isn't a total shock.

"I think it's definitely disappointing, but I won't say that I'm completely surprised," Warner told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Friday, adding that he isn't sure the Saints did what they are being investigated for. "I'm not surprised that there were teams out there doing those kinds of things behind closed doors."

If it is true -- and even if it's not -- Warner said the concept is not exactly a new one.

"Guys, I believe, have gone out and tried to put the most violent hit on people and knock people out of the game for years and years and years," he said. "Where I think it crosses the line is when guys start taking cheap shots.

"I don't know if that was a part of this period of time and when this was going on -- I know I took that hard hit -- but like I said, I look back on it and say there wasn't anything illegal about it; he went after me and he hit me hard."

Warner, though, said the idea of placing bounties on a player's head -- or really just looking to injure them -- is something that does not belong in the NFL, even though he believes it does happen.

"I don't think there's any place in our game for trying to hurt someone," Warner said. "I have no problem with going out and playing hard and doing everything you can and playing within the framework of hitting guys hard because that's what the game is, but I just don't like the idea and the intention of trying to hurt anybody."

Warner missed the end of the first half in his final game, but returned in the second half and finished by completing 17 of 26 passes for 205 yards, throwing no touchdowns and one interception. The Cardinals lost 45-14, and the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl.

"I always thought, to me, the greatest part of our game was playing in those big games against the other team's best players and being able to beat them, not trying to knock guys out or trying to go after a guy's injury, or whatever it may be," Warner said.

Going forward, Warner said his greatest concern would come from being able to watch a team and be able to discern when they are trying to hurt someone. He said he can tell the difference.

"I think you know when guys are trying to push the envelope, hit you a little bit higher, continually hit you in the head," he said. "I had numerous games where I talked to the officials and just said 'hey, I just feel like there's been more times in this game where hands have been up, hitting me in the head, and guys have gone after my head than in a normal situation.

"You start to feel like, OK, it seems like they're really pushing that envelope, that they're trying to take that extra step to see if they can get away with it."

Warner added that the big hit he took -- bounty or not -- was not the reason he left the NFL. But it's stuff like this NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to clean up.

"Because of what the commissioner has done with everything else that he's made a stance on, he would have to make a significant stance on this to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

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