Gregg Williams apologized in a written statement last night for his role in the Bounty scandal in New Orleans.
I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints. 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.
That last part may be accurate, but out of his control. The Washington Post has already come out with a story interviewing four former players there under Gregg Williams, who acknowledge a similar system. Phillip Daniels spoke on the record and defended the coach. Quotes from the others include things such as “If you took the star player out, he’d hook you up a little bit” and describing him as a “coach who just took it a little too far”.
Pragmatically, the Rams may have no choice but to terminate Williams fairly quickly. He will be facing a suspension, and as details emerge, the guess here is that it will be a lengthy one, and not just a four game ban to start the year. Williams previously worked with Jeff Fisher and that relationship played a role in his coming to St. Louis. However, he has no ties to the St. Louis players or program, having just been hired there. Sure, they have been working on installing his defense, but even setting aside the public relations hit, now is probably the time to make a move before the draft preparation gets too deep. Wait too long and the league may take it out of their hands anyway. With the draft boards and preparation for April escalating, now may be the time to dismiss Williams and promote or hire someone else.
Fisher wanted Williams as his defensive coordinator, and the coaching fraternity can be tight. Friends let friends go all the time in this business, though. St. Louis may not want to keep a defensive coordinator around who may be unavailable for a large part of his first season with the team.
[photo via US Presswire]