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New Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has issued an apology for his role in the New Orleans Saints' violation of the NFL's "bounty rule."

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. (Tom) Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in a statement released Friday by the St. Louis Rams.

"It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

Williams could be subject to league fine or suspension for his role in the program, which paid Saints defensive players illegal bonuses for such things as "cart-offs" — meaning an opposing player had to be carted off the field because of an injury — or "knockouts," meaning an opposing player was not able to return to the game.

Players were also given payments for such plays as interceptions and fumble recoveries.

The NFL announced Friday that a lengthy investigation by its security department disclosed that in 2009, 2010 and 2011 — or Williams' three seasons as the Saints' defensive coordinator — that between 22 and 27 defensive players and at least one assistant coach (Williams) maintained the program, which was primarily funded by players.

According to the NFL, the program was administered by Williams, with the knowledge of other defensive coaches.