Cris Carter
Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter admitted to putting out "bounties" on opposing defensive players. REUTERS

Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter has admitted to putting out bounties on opposing defensive players, adding a new layer to the bountygate scandal surrounding the New Orleans Saints and the whole NFL.

Carter said he offered teammates money and meals in exchange for protection from opposing players he knew were out to injure him.

I'm guilty of [bounties] -- I mean, first time I've ever admitted it -- but I put a bounty on guys before, Carter said during an interview with Hill and Schlereth on ESPN Radio. I put bounties on guys. If a guy tries to take me out, a guy takes a cheap shot on me? I put a bounty on him right now.

Carter's comments came a week after New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and three others appealed prolonged suspensions for their roles in the Saints' bounty program. The program sounded oddly similar to Carter's claim, which the former player tried hard to differentiate.

But you have to realize the league we grew up in, the bounty was based on protection, or a big hit, excitement, or for helping your team win. It wasn't to maim or hurt the dude, said Carter

Carter later clarified on ESPN's Sportscenter that his bounties were not a head-hunting mission.

The difference is people going out of their way to hurt a player, hitting a spot that we as players know is off limits, like his knees, he said. You're not telling them to go out and get someone, you're telling them to protect you, run down the field to protect their skill guys.

Carter pointed to one dust up with Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski during pregame warm ups.

[Romanowski] told me he was going to take me out before the game, warm ups. No problem. [Romanowski said] 'I'm gonna end your career, Carter.' No problem. I put a little change on his head before the game. Protect myself. Protect my family. That's the league that I grew up in, Carter said.