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For player discipline, NFL needs Gregg Williams

greg_williams Getty Images

The NFL eventually intends to impose discipline on multiple players involved in the Saints’ bounty program.  After that happens, the players will have the right to appeal, either to Ted Cottrell or Art Shell (if the punishment is imposed for on-field conduct, like making an illegal hit for money) or to the Commissioner (if the punishment is imposed for off-field conduct, like funding the bounty system).

Either way, hearings will be held.  At the hearings, the NFL will be required to submit evidence.  And much of the evidence will come from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

As explained in Wednesday’s announcement from the league:  “Coach Williams acknowledged that he designed and implemented the program with the assistance of certain defensive players. He said that he did so after being told by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton that his assignment was to make the defense ‘nasty.’ Coach Williams described his role as overseeing record keeping, defining payout amounts, deciding on who received payouts, and distributing envelopes with cash to players who ‘earned’ rewards.”

And so the league will need Williams to show up at the hearings and tell the hearing officer what Williams told the NFL when Williams finally confessed to being the man who “designed and implemented the program.”  The fact that the league knows Williams did so “with the assistance of certain defensive players” means that those “certain defensive players” can expect to be punished, with the punishments supported by Williams’ testimony.

That’s likely one of the reasons why the NFL opted not to impose a lifetime ban on Williams.  If banned, he’d have no reason to show up and testify.  By suspending him for a year and explaining that his prospects for reinstatement will depend in part on “the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings,” the NFL essentially is using reinstatement as the carrot that will entice Williams to testify effectively in the appeal hearings.

The fact that the Rams inexplicably haven’t yet fired the man they say they never would have hired if they’d known about the bounty system could be part of the plan to make Williams think he has a realistic chance of getting back in.  With a plausible belief that his job is waiting for him, Williams will have an extra incentive to ensure that the forthcoming suspensions survive the appeal process.

In the end, the NFL may decide that Williams should never be reinstated.  Or perhaps the Rams will fire him and no one else will hire him.  Regardless, the NFL can’t cut him loose for now, because the league needs the man it has suspended indefinitely, or the league definitely will be unable to make the player suspensions stick.

For more, here’s a little something from Thursday’s PFT Live.

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55 Responses to “For player discipline, NFL needs Gregg Williams”
  1. stevenfbrackett says: Mar 23, 2012 8:41 PM

    He sounds like an organized crime boss.

  2. electionconfidential says: Mar 23, 2012 8:42 PM

    Where I work we have a technique called “the warning shot”. You kill one guy and let it be a warning to others. Ban Williams for life if you’re serious about wiping out the brain damage that’s killing the veterans.

  3. cags777 says: Mar 23, 2012 8:42 PM

    The NFL does not need Gregg Williams. He has already confessed and we have the tapes and stories of players involved.

  4. worldwidebleater says: Mar 23, 2012 8:44 PM

    The NFL has their pound of flesh. This a a good place to stop pulling on that loose string. If they continue to pull, they may not like what the sweater looks like when they’re done.

  5. vikingsfan1994 says: Mar 23, 2012 8:44 PM

    Man did you hear about the flagrant foul by New Orleans Hornets Jason Smith on Blake Griffin. Either Gregg Williams started coaching them or New Orleans needs to be banned from sports.

  6. jaggedmark says: Mar 23, 2012 8:44 PM

    The warm and cuddly feel good story that is the New Orleans Saints continues!!!

  7. sdisme says: Mar 23, 2012 8:49 PM

    If he shuts up he will be banned for life.

    If he talks he will never be hired again and no player will ever play for him.

  8. sdisme says: Mar 23, 2012 8:55 PM

    So he starts a bounty program in New Orleans (just like he did in other places), and now he has to rat out the players so he can coach again?

    Yes Mr. Goodell you are doing a great job. Keep up the great work.

  9. time2speakup says: Mar 23, 2012 8:57 PM

    Somebody once said, “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” and whoever it was was thinking about non-other than Mr. G. Williams. Williams has to have enough sense left to know he is going to be played like a harp, then thrown out like yesterdays gaar-baage! If a sane person lets themself think about all this, it’s really stomach churning playing out the possible end results this could have, and may have caused. Is winning really “that” important?

  10. twodat says: Mar 23, 2012 9:05 PM

    What player would play for him again. He is smarter than this. The writer of this article is obviously not informed about human behavior. Nor loyalty.

  11. niquebchillin says: Mar 23, 2012 9:06 PM

    I don’t think he gonna name players … He loved his players …

  12. pastabelly says: Mar 23, 2012 9:09 PM

    I hope the IRS is paying attention to this.

  13. xenova1 says: Mar 23, 2012 9:10 PM

    You saying that the NFL needs Gregg is one thing, but does Gregg need the NFL? He knows that he will never coach again in the NFL. What team in their right mind would hire him? He should just pack up his bags and see if he can get hired at the collegiate level. He owes nothing to the NFL.

    We knew it was alway a possibilty that Vick could return because of his unique talent and that his actions were done off of the field. A man like Gregg Williams is past his prime and really didn’t do anything spectacular (statistically speaking) at his last gig with the Saints.

  14. beavertonsteve says: Mar 23, 2012 9:10 PM

    It’s all fun and games ’till Williams turns over a list with 103 players 18 coaches and $500,000 of unclaimed income.

  15. mempusa says: Mar 23, 2012 9:24 PM

    I still have no idea why anyone would do that in a professional environment. It just doesn’t make sense. In America, when someone pays $15k to another person to intentionally injure someone, its a CRIME!!! Ban that piece of garbage for life and the same with the players who accepted it.

  16. goforthanddie says: Mar 23, 2012 9:32 PM

    If he’s stupid enough to think he’ll ever get an NFL job again, more power to him.

  17. thepvyharvin says: Mar 23, 2012 9:38 PM

    Not one to profile people,,but,,, look at that picture of him. Really looks as seedy and scummy as…well,he is. John Wayne Gacyish

  18. rallen69 says: Mar 23, 2012 9:41 PM

    make a deal. if he doesnt cooperate he is banned. if he helps make it a couple year ban.

  19. cowboyfaninut says: Mar 23, 2012 9:55 PM

    Greg williams is going to rat his former players out good luck gaining any respect in any future locker rooms you coach

  20. kilyin says: Mar 23, 2012 9:57 PM

    The fact that the Rams inexplicably haven’t yet fired the man they say they never would have hired if they’d known about the bounty system could be part of the plan to make Williams think he has a realistic chance of getting back in.

    I think this is missing a comma or two.

  21. kingpel says: Mar 23, 2012 9:59 PM

    Are you crazy? Goodell cant touch the players. If he tries, I’ll call racism.

  22. neworleanscheaters says: Mar 23, 2012 10:03 PM

    I bet the IRS is watching this closely. I am sure the players that received money did not report the income. I love this. The Saints getting what they deserve from their fraudulent Super Bowl.

  23. thinkellie says: Mar 23, 2012 10:09 PM

    Wow the same media and NFL that continually replay and profit from the hard hits and violence of the sport really want to make an example of these people. have fun posting videos of big hits and people being knocked out of games and then acting like this is so outrageous.

  24. bigbadal21 says: Mar 23, 2012 10:14 PM

    This is just my opinion which I know is not worth much. I think the “bounty program” is despicable. I don’t like the “incentive” program for sacks, interceptions etc. but that is much less revolting than the bounty program. Here is my take. The players depend upon the coaches to put them on the field. I can see why a player would not tell his coach that he will have nothing to do with a bounty program. So if said player says nothing so he can play but does not try to injure a “bountied player” how can the NFL punish him? Throwing 10,000 bucks into the pot like Vilma supposedly did is on another level. I just hope the punishments fit the crime and that the NFL doesn’t paint all 22-26 players with the same brush.

  25. kp4lsu says: Mar 23, 2012 10:18 PM

    Vickingsfan1994 are you new to pro sports flagrant fouls have been a part of the NBA for many years, of course Vikings fans are still mad about the 2009 championship game, Farve should never have been in that game, he was not hit any harder than other teams hit him we only got to
    Him more because y’alls O line sucked.

  26. mikesmajormojo says: Mar 23, 2012 10:31 PM

    Whether opponents or teammates, the majority of NFL players take very seriously the idea that fellow players are considered their ‘brothers’. This type of misguidance flies in the face of hypocrisy and it would be appropriate to send everyone involved to the family counselor.

  27. paulieorkid says: Mar 23, 2012 10:37 PM

    No sarcasm here — that was some cherry analyis. Wow — good calls all around

  28. qball59 says: Mar 23, 2012 10:56 PM

    If I’m Gregg Williams, I’m telling the NFL: “You want me to testify? Then my indefinite suspension becomes a one-year suspension, and I, in turn, will provide full disclosure on the bounty program. Otherwise, I’m going trekking in Nepal. Indefinitely.”

    As for Williams testifying and then never being hired again, that’s a joke. The only thing that matters in the NFL is winning. Gregg Williams knows how to win, so somebody will always be willing to offer him a job.

  29. 7to10for6allday says: Mar 23, 2012 11:04 PM

    Williams needs to just walk away from the nfl. Those suspensions will deter anyone or should deter anyone from doing it again. Not worth making enemies by testifying. Take your millions and retire from the nfl.

  30. stealthscorpio says: Mar 23, 2012 11:11 PM

    Think about this viewpoint…So he will be a public “snitch” against players that took money to hurt people and/or funded money to hurt people…yes, technically, I believe he was an organized crime boss…those are serious crimes…because it was football doesn’t mean it’s not going to get pursued…22-27 on the Saints at least he is going to turn on and turn in…what if they ask about prior teams…is it 100 guys?…what happens to them…fines, suspensions, reputations (retired players trade on their reps to help them post football), endorsements, maybe criminal charges, tax charges…dude, there is a reason the days without an arrest meter stays low…these are “nasty” defensive players that had to be brutal just to get to the nfl, many from brutal upbringings with brutal neighborhood acquaintances…doesn’t mean they are all bad…in fact 98% of them are not, no matter position or where they grew up…but ooh, they are asking him to do something to gonna seriously cross the 2% and their extended network.,.he’s always going to be stained…I would seriously consider just taking it all on me if I were him…just imagine if a prosecutor demands the same thing for a plea bargain…

  31. themonster49 says: Mar 23, 2012 11:33 PM

    I dont see the connection, in a company-in-house-handled appeal, how they would need the live person, or an approved taping of the person, to decide the appeal. This isnt court, can you please explain why a company needs him when they cant make him tell the truth anymore and since his job is lost now has possible reasons to lie during the appeal? I understand the rules of court. I dont see much if any connection to the way the company handles the appeal.

    He mostly-obviously only confessed to save his future in the NFL, if he thinks that chance is gone or doubtful why wouldnt he then lie during the appeal to save others or himself? The company cant do anything else to him at this point, he is already gone. Again this isnt court, please elaborate!

    I trust your prior career gives you insight, i am genuinely wanting to know, as this issue is important to me.

  32. Andre's Johnson says: Mar 23, 2012 11:35 PM

    The NFL has played this absolutely perfectly. Give Williams a glimmer of hope that if he cooperates he’ll be reinstated. Then after he points fingers, ban him for life.

  33. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: Mar 23, 2012 11:45 PM

    Gregg Williams has a FUPA. Also his soul consists of what is hidden in a FUPA. Google FUPA at your peril/laughter threshold.

  34. despinosa8 says: Mar 23, 2012 11:46 PM

    Snitches get stitches ….

  35. jason1980 says: Mar 24, 2012 12:20 AM

    If I were Gregg Williams I would tell the NFL to bite it, because there is no way I would trust Godell to give me my job back. He should have enough money to live a very comfortable life. Don’t trust Godell, he is a wolf in sheep clothing.

  36. kimtrouard says: Mar 24, 2012 12:35 AM

    …and the vi-queens STILL don’t have a SuperBowl title.

  37. qball59 says: Mar 24, 2012 12:37 AM

    If I’m Gregg Williams, I’m telling the NFL: “You want me to testify? Fine, change my indefinite suspension to a one-year suspension, and I’ll cooperate fully. Otherwise, I’m going trekking in Nepal. Indefinitely.”

    As for Williams never getting hired again in the NFL, that’s a joke. The only thing that matters in the NFL is WINNING. Gregg Williams has already shown he knows how to win, so there will always be somebody ready to offer him a job.

  38. contract says: Mar 24, 2012 12:49 AM

    If Williams testifies against his players, he is imposing a lifetime ban on himself, because players will never play for him again.

  39. mediasloppy says: Mar 24, 2012 1:03 AM

    Sean Payton knew the whole operation and lied his a$$ off. The guy is good at subterfuge, which is probably why he is so successful doing onside kicks. That’s not a slam on him. Those plays were pretty sweet.

  40. canjura says: Mar 24, 2012 1:04 AM

    “You play to win the game.” -Herm Edwards.

    Sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with bounties. Every team does it. T-Suggs came out to the media in 08 (the second year of this so-called memo) and said there was a bounty on Mendenhall and Hines Ward. If the NFL was serious about “cleaning up” the bounty problem, they should have investigated THEN, and it would have never gotten to the point where it’s at now with the Saints. The NFL let’s the “old school” defenses slide because they’ve been good for so long, but when a new up-and-coming defense does something, they INSTANTLY jump on them. That’s bull. EVERYTHING that happens on an NFL field would be criminal off the field (from pancake blocks, to stiff arms, to bump and run defense, EVERYTHING). Imagine how much better the league would be if they would have investigated this when they SHOULD HAVE. Now, it’s just a ploy to try to “sweep” the law suits under the rug, so to speak.

    For the Record, I’m a St. Louis Rams fan, so I’m not even a New Orleans Saints homer. I just don’t think the punishment fit the crime when the NFL could have done something about this over 3 years ago.

  41. discosucs2005 says: Mar 24, 2012 1:15 AM

    “Gregg Williams has already shown he knows how to win, so there will always be somebody ready to offer him a job.”

    Providing that somebody has a top 5 offense every year…

    I posted this long before the bounty scandal, so this isn’t kicking while down, but I don’t think Williams was that good to begin with. First piece of evidence? Vernon Davis in man coverage.

  42. earlcampbellrules says: Mar 24, 2012 1:17 AM

    I love Gregg Williams! I wish he wasn’t a dying breed. That’s how football should be played.

  43. buzmeg says: Mar 24, 2012 1:29 AM

    The NFL doesn’t need Gregg Williams to rat out the culprits; all they need do is ask Warren Sapp and he’ll tweet all the names.

  44. ghostofgilchrist says: Mar 24, 2012 2:32 AM

    The players just need to fly Williams’ brother in from Sicily, then sit next to him at the hearing. He’ll change his tune.

  45. jody9235 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:05 AM

    Well Goodll using that limitless power again huh! If the NFL has so much evidence why do they need GW to testify and become an even greater dissapontment to Saints fans everywhere. This isn’t any different than the NFL letting this go on for 3 years and doing nothing, HMMM Goodell Kahn, how does that sound.

  46. seenoland54 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:41 AM

    They don’t need him to “testify”, they already have the transcripts and confessions. This isn’t like a court, it’s a corporation with it’s own employment rules and process that they all agreed to when they were hired in the first place.

    As for never getting respect for “ratting out” players, he’s not going to get respect walking into a locker room full of guys that know he was coaching to cripple them or their fellow team mates already. Respect has forever been off the table.

    Now let’s see how the Saints owner/front office handles it. Stick by the ones involved and that organization will be looked down on forever…nice stink to paint a city with.

  47. jackntorres says: Mar 24, 2012 8:57 AM

    jaggedmark says:
    Mar 23, 2012 8:44 PM
    The warm and cuddly feel good story that is the New Orleans Saints continues!!!
    ——-
    Since when is football warm and cuddly? You must watch television for women.

  48. whatevnfl says: Mar 24, 2012 8:57 AM

    What if one of these hits cost me fantasy football quarterback, season, and hundred or thousands in dollars in what I could have won?

  49. 4thqtrsaint says: Mar 24, 2012 10:12 AM

    I wish PFT would stop with the “why hasn’t Williams been fired from the Rams?” And anyone who feels sorry for Jeff Fisher or the Rams, let me break this down… Fisher and Williams are BEST FRIENDS… He hired Williams, KNOWING that’s how he rolls.

    When both men were with the Titans, there is absolutely NO WAY Fisher didn’t know about bounties. If Sean Payton knew, Fisher knew.

    Best friends know the down low on best friends. So PFT may prefer Jeff Fisher & his cute little porn moustache over Sean Payton, this website needs to get over coddling Fisher. Fisher hired Williams, KNOWING THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Fisher’s only mistake was he didn’t know his best friend would get caught and bounced.

  50. packerfaninsandiego says: Mar 24, 2012 10:26 AM

    I think a lot of teams would want him……if he’s not banned for life, he will coach again

  51. PriorKnowledge says: Mar 24, 2012 10:52 AM

    After the LA Rams, George Allen never coached in the NFL again. And his “crime” was only that he was a tough coach and some spoiled players complained.

  52. nomesayin says: Mar 24, 2012 11:07 AM

    If he is forced to snitch on the very players whom he induced…well…I just can’t see him being respected in any lockerroom.

  53. vetdana says: Mar 24, 2012 11:11 AM

    Hope for reinstatement ?…Williams,if he is a realist, must know,NOW that he has no hope of being hired by anyone after these hearings conclude, and so should plan his action as though this were a a fact !……..Tell me what team would ever want to again, embrace this can of worms so as to to re infect their team?

  54. bigbluefan1 says: Mar 24, 2012 11:23 AM

    Hey NO time to start taking a good look at next years draft class your on the clock for the first pick in the 2013 Draft.

    Its over in NO let the facts speak

  55. marcinhouston says: Mar 24, 2012 3:16 PM

    Williams will get back into the NFL because he has the dirt to bury both Roger Gooddell and Jeff Fischer. Gooddell has begged Williams to never admit that bounty programs extended beyond the Saints because Gooddell has no interest in investigating other teams which would make the issue seem more systematic and reflect poorly on Gooddell. Likewise, Williams knows that Fischer and he had bounties in Tennessee and Fischer was comfortable with those bounties because Fischer helped develop them in Philly with Buddy Ryan. Williams will be working again, because Gooddell and Fischer both know their jobs depend on keeping Williams happy. The reason for giving Sean Payton a 1-year suspension was to take the heat off Williams and shift responsibility. At the end of the season Gooddell will find Williams has reformed and only extend his suspension a few more games so he can re-join the Rams mid-season in 2013.

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