NEW ORLEANS ( — Taking a page from Rush Limbaugh’s penitent play book, NFL defenders who won cash bounties for injuring opponents apologized today, explaining that the “kill shots” they took were simply awkward attempts at humor.

Just as comedians on stage try to "kill" with an audience, here the Saints try to "kill" the Carolina Panthers' Tyrell Sutton.

“What people don’t realize is, football isn’t about the violence, it’s about the physical comedy,” explained New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. “Think about it. If slipping on a banana peel is funny, then snapping someone’s femur is even funnier. I’m sorry if some people found that offensive or career-ending.”
“When you twist a guy into a pretzel and slam him into the ground so he punctures a lung, that’s like watching Will Farrell take a pratfall,” agreed former Saints safety Darren Sharper. “It’s awkward and goofy. Sometimes I laugh so hard I can’t breathe. Especially if the guy I hit can’t breath.”
The apology comes after the Saints, under the direction of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, were found guilty of paying cash for savage hits, particularly for “cart-offs” – shots where opponents were carried from the field. Sharper and his colleagues insisted they were simply entertainers doing their jobs, much as Limbaugh insisted he was trying to be humorous and entertaining when he branded a Georgetown University coed a “slut” for her views on contraception.
“As entertainers, the players are limited in what they can do,” said Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams. “They can’t dance because the league has outlawed that. They can’t sing because no one can hear ‘em with the helmets. What they can do is slapstick, by which I mean slap somebody upside the head and stick their face in the ground until their eyes bleed. Like The Three Stooges.”
In a discussion on ESPN, Saints defensive end Bobby McCray clarified that approach to former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, whom McCrary knocked out of a 2009 playoff game.
“OK, yeah, there was a bounty on Kurt, but it wasn’t about injuring him,” said McCray. “It was about who could get the biggest laugh.”
“You could have told me,” Warner responded.
“No no, that was our improv phase,” McCray explained. “We thought it’d be funnier just to see your genuine reaction. Like on Punk’d. We totally got you.”

Warner agreed, noting that his genuine reaction was to lay motionless on the field and, two weeks later, end his career.
“Comedy gold,” McCray replied, slapping Warner on the thigh and breaking his knee cap.

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