I can't say this surprises me, but it's still pretty awful. I mean, it's one thing to go as hard as you can, deliver big hits and all that, but it's an entirely different thing if the intent is to injure. Where there's smoke there's fire: I bet there's a bunch of teams, in many sports, perhaps even at the college level, that do something similar, maybe not even with money.
The N.F.L. said the total amount of money in the pool might have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the playoffs of the 2009 season, when the Saints won the Super Bowl. The system paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.
EDIT: There's a Jay Feeley quote at the end of the piece:
“No place in NFL for bounties. Physical play is an attribute but malicious intent should be removed.”