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Washington Redskins safety Adam Archuleta (40) hits New York Jets quarterback Patrick Ramsey (11) after he got rid of the ball during a pre-season NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Adam Archuleta played in the NFL for seven seasons, spending time with the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears.

The former Sun Devil's time in Washington was spent playing for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Yes, the same Williams who has been suspended indefinitely for running a "bounty program" in New Orleans, which offered players money for injuring opposing players.

"There was a reward system and it was usually something that, most of the time, in almost every team I ever played on it was kind of governed by the players for just big plays," Archuleta told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "We had our own self-imposed fine system, and you just got rewarded for how you performed in the games."

But things were different in Washington.

"It was actually organized and done by Gregg, and it was more for the entire defense," Archuleta said, "and one of the things that was on there was 'knockout hits' or knocking somebody out of the game."

Archuleta admitted not thinking too much of it, since big hits were always part of the player-run system. In fact, he thought it was just more organized in Washington, with Williams doling out the money at the team's Saturday night meetings.

"I thought it was just a tool to try to cultivate a nasty culture and us being the most physical and intimidating defense we could possibly be," he said. "And quite honestly it was kind of fun, on a Saturday night, to sit back and see who got the cash from the previous week after we watched our highlight tape."

In other words (and Archuleta's, really), he didn't really think anything was wrong or un-kosher with what was happening.

"I never really thought that anything he said or did was grossly over the line."

But, it turns out, the NFL thought differently.

The league handed out stiff penalties Wednesday, including a one-year suspension for Saints head coach Sean Payton and an indefinite suspension for Williams, who left New Orleans to coach the St. Louis Rams defense this season.

But, Archuleta says, the assumed lack of bounty programs going forward will not really change much for defensive players.

"Since you've been playing football and being a defensive player, the goal of hitting somebody is to hit them hard enough so they hurt, and that's just the nature of it," he said. "The vicious and the intent to hurt has always been there if you're a defensive player, and a few hundred dollars isn't going to motivate you to do anything different."

That's not to say he never benefited from the system that was in place during his playing days, as Archuleta said he tended to collect money every other week or so.

But making a little extra money was in no way Archuleta's motivation for hitting someone hard, as he would have done that even without an extra incentive.

"That's what you dream of," he said. "When you're a kid, when you played football, you dream of those opportunities where you get to just knock somebody out.

"There's almost not a better, satisfying feeling of really giving it to somebody; it's something you can't describe and that's why you play the game."

Of course, Archuleta said the hard hits came with one caveat: he didn't want to injure anyone.

"I remember back in 2003, one of my bigger hits that I've ever had, against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, I knocked Todd Heap out of the game," he said.

Heap was a teammate of Archuleta's at Arizona State.

"At the time, and it happened and it was a monster hit, you get up and you're all hyped up and then I looked over and was like 'ahh man, that's Todd,' so you start to feel bad about it and you hope he's OK."

Archuleta said he couldn't remember how much money he received for that hit.

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