Gregg Williams makes an unlikely return to a head-coaching role

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After the Browns fired both coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, it wasn’t clear who the interim coach would be, because it was believed to be clear that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams never, ever would be a head coach again. Ever.

But the Browns gave Williams the job for the second half of the season, despite the fact that he created, organized, and implemented while with the Saints a bounty program that got him suspended for the entire 2012 season.

It was more than the bounty scandal, as utilized during the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl run (and possibly against Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLIV). It was a history of using bounties at prior coaching stops — a history that the league had no desire to explore for fear of exposing just how widespread the problem was. Williams allegedly had a bounty system in Washington, and also in Buffalo, where he was 17-31 in his only stint as a head coach from 2001 through 2003.

(The Washington bounty program resulted in a lawsuit from former Lions linebacker Barrett Green. The lawsuit was settled in 2015.)

Perhaps more importantly, it was the over-the-top effort before what would be his final game with the Saints, a playoff game for the ages against the 49ers, to urge members of the New Orleans defense to inflict injury on San Francisco players,

Then there was the written testimony from Williams in the bounty case specifically accusing former Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma of offering $10,000 to anyone who knocked former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game. It’s somewhat amazing that any players would trust or respect Williams after snitching, as plenty of players could easily perceive it, on one of his players.

Despite these various issues that go to the heart of the NFL’s newfound concern (as of 2012) on player health and safety, and notwithstanding the existence of plenty of competent coaches, the Browns hired Williams in 2017 to run their defense and the Browns have now given him the interim head-coaching job.

Here’s where I’d say that it would be a major surprise if he receives serious consideration for the permanent job in 2019. But it’s already a major surprise that he’ll have the job for eight games, 15 years after last serving as a head coach in the NFL and six years after he became seemingly disqualified from ever being an NFL head coach again.

33 responses to “Gregg Williams makes an unlikely return to a head-coaching role

  1. He was a scapegoat on an issue the NFL wanted to punish. Just like Brady and deflate gate. Go all the way back to the 80s and the Packer that body slammed McMahon out of bounds and messed up his shoulder. Bountys have been around for years. Just like QBs and Kickers messing with the footballs.

  2. Lets not act like he was the only one doing this. It was common place in NFL locker rooms. The difference was the Saints continued to do it after the NFL tried to stop it. If you think it still isn’t going on your a little naive. They just don’t talk about it. Players like to gamble and have a little extra fun on the side.

  3. Anyone here remember the audio clip of him talking about hitting players in the head? How is this low life still coaching (HC!) in this league and Kaepernick is not?

  4. The Browns need to hire some solid, good football coaches with a plan to make this team better in both the short and long term, and not some delusional, misfits and call the coaches like they had done in the past!

  5. Disagree. I’m no Browns, Saints, Redskins, Bills, or Williams fan, but the NFL was aware of everything you brought up, issued a punishment, and the man served his time. He’s been back in the league for a while now. Get over it. I’m sorry you think his dastardly deeds stopped your favorite team from winning the SuperBowl almost ten years ago (not sorry, actually), but I can’t help but think this article was written by someone just holding a grudge. He’s the interim head coach of the Browns, who fired their head coach and OC. Let me guess, you think they should have hired Colin Kaepernick instead. Amiright?

  6. He stands for the anthem. He could put out bounties on the neighborhood pee-wee team, and he’d still have a job as long as he stands for the anthem.

  7. I agree that bounties happened way before 2009. Heck…Buddy Ryan did it as a head coach in Philadelphia against Dallas in the 80’s.

    My problem is that he is a terrible, terrible head coach. Bad! Aweful!

  8. I hate what he did and the punishment the Saints had to go through. Nevertheless, people who are reformed and served their sentence, deserve a second chance. I hope he makes the Browns worse than they are now and Gregg is never considered for a job. Also, if you have evidence that this is still going on in the league, report it to the NFL. Players already have an instinct to inflict pain. Extra motivation by the coaches to do it is unacceptable.

  9. Williams. I thought the Saints-Vikings playoff game was one of the dirtiest I have ever watched. So many late hits on Favre. Absolutely ridiculous. He is a snake.

    McMahon was not hit out of bounds in that Packers-Bears game. He was in the field of play and the guy just body slammed him.

  10. Dennis Carson says:
    November 3, 2018 at 10:56 pm
    Maybe the NFL thinks being the Browns coach is even more punishment.


    Lmao….no kidding!!!

  11. The league never really cared about Bounty programs, just like they really don’t care about CTE. The league cares about lawsuits. Anything to create the appearance of safety that keeps the lawsuits away they will implement.

  12. It’s ok if he starts bounty system in Cleveland, because Haslam will just keep the money.

  13. Well Greg Williams comes from the Buddy Ryan coaching tree. As Buddy said when he took the head coaching job in Arizona”you’ve got a winner in town”. Well Cleveland you’ve got a winner in town in Greg Williams lmao.

  14. “I guess We don’t get second chances anymore…The man paid for his crime. I for one like a good redemption story”

    Paid for his crime? Have you ever heard Williams express one iota of remorse for trying to permanently maim and disfigure human beings? In fact, Williams has always bragged about his actions and unequivocally stated that he would conduct himself in the same manner again.

    Williams was never charged with a “crime”. He can have all of the second chances that you wish for him. However, they should not be second chances to again promote the intentional injury of sporting competitors on the field of play.

  15. News flash: if you played football in the early 2000’s you had a bounty program going in the locker room on game day. Opposing teams best players on the chalk board and everyone would write a dollar amount under a particular player. This was very very very common everywhere on every level down to high school.

  16. Michael E says:

    “The bounty deal only offends snowflakes”.

    Sure, it takes a manly man to try and injure his opponent as opposed to winning in a test of skill.

    It is actually a sign of weakness and cowardice to intentionally inflict injury upon your opponent.

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