Gregg Williams returns to New Orleans for the first time since the bounty scandal

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The New Orleans Saints had the entire franchise thrown off its axis more than four years ago, when the NFL suspended coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for the full season for Williams’ role in the maintenance of a bounty program during the 2009 season. For the first time since then, Williams will return to the Superdome as a coach.

“This is the first time going back down there and coaching,” the Rams defensive coordinator told reporters on Friday. “Really looking forward to it, got a lot of great memories, a lot of good feelings, a lot of good people there that I still stay in contact with.”

There may be some great memories, but the fallout arising from Williams’ effort to create an extra incentive for players who already had a reason to apply hits to opponents that rendered them incapable of continuing surely is the worst memory. Although the NFL arguably (or actually) mishandled the efforts to end this cultural reality of pro football by nailing one culprit while ignoring evidence it had happened and/or was happening elsewhere, Williams is the one person who was linked to the practice at various prior stops in his career.

As a result, there may be some hard feelings, primarily from the fans who’ll gather for the game. How does Williams think he’ll be received?

“It’s not about that, it’s about these guys playing,” Williams said. “These guys are down there, they’re ready to play. So it’s not about me.”

That may be wishful thinking from Williams. He was the clear culprit of the bounty scandal, and it’s unlikely that fans in New Orleans have forgotten about it — or that they’ll let him forget about it on Sunday.

16 responses to “Gregg Williams returns to New Orleans for the first time since the bounty scandal

  1. He might want to steer clear of standing too close to the sideline in the front, or to the fans in the back. Maybe hide somewhere in the middle.

  2. .
    Fisher makes 7 million. Williams makes 2 million. Based on their overwhelming success, why won’t the Rams give them a long extension and a well deserved raise.

  3. Why should Saints’ fans hate Williams? Many teams were doing what GW was doing AND he helped them win a title. Saints fans hate Godell.

  4. really, i doubt anyone outside of NO, Minny and the press goves two hoots about “bountygate.” hard hits and beatdowns are still incentivised as bonuses in contracts, so why is it so horrible when a coach encourages it? seriously, i should just start watching lacrosse. nfl is wussifying itself to irrelevance.

  5. The problem wasnt the Bounty program. It was the NFL referees ignoring brutal late hits to Favres legs and head shots.
    The league is spinning into a bounty issue but they let Favre take one of the worst beatings in modern NFL history to get the Saints their Superbowl.
    What referee did the league bring out of retirement to be back judge?
    I’m old enough to remember this and also old enough to remember that the Green Bay Packers are one of the dirtiest teams in the league.

  6. The bum should have been banned for life by the NFL. He just moved to St.Louis and continued doing the same ole thing…if you can’t beat ’em, cripple ’em and put ’em on season ending/career ending IR/retirement.
    “Player safety” is the NFL’s PC catch phrase to extort money from players in fines while letting the real villains and dirtbags continue to do what they do.

  7. If anything Saints fans should hate Goodell for fabricating that “scandal”.

    Another effort totally fabricated by the most corrupt commission in modern American sports history and his cronies.

  8. I don’t like Williams from his time as HC in BUF. Running off Pro Bowlers Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield.
    However, what he did in New Orleans
    was a common practice on football teams across the country at every level of play.
    For the League to be” Shocked !, Shocked !”
    is laughable. The fans in New Orleans should give him a warm welcome as someone who helped them win a Superbowl.

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