Nearly a year after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL for allegedly coordinating the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system, Gregg Williams is returning to the NFL, and to the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans named Williams a senior assistant/defense yesterday, after receiving news of his reinstatement by the league.
“Commissioner Roger Goodell today notified Gregg Williams and the Tennessee Titans that Williams’ contract with the Titans has been approved and that he has been reinstated,” the team said in a statement. “The commissioner cited several reasons for the reinstatement, including Williams’ forthcoming acknowledgement of and acceptance of responsibility for his role in the bounty program at the Saints, his commitment to never again be involved in a pay-for-performance or bounty system, and his pledge to teach safe play and respect for the rules at all levels of the game. The commissioner emphasized that Williams must fully conform to league rules and will be subject to periodic monitoring to confirm his compliance.”
Williams returns to the team where his NFL career began and where he coached from 1990-2000, his last four years serving as the defensive coordinator before leaving to become the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
“I have known Gregg for over two decades and have seen him work his way up from a quality control coach to a head coach,” Titans head coach Mike Munchak said in a statement. “He will bring a great deal of defensive knowledge and energy to our staff. The decision to bring him here only came after going through a thoughtful and thorough process.”
For his part, Williams again accepted responsibility for his role in “Bounty-gate” and his year long league suspension.
“I met with the commissioner last week and we had a good talk, and I thank him for my reinstatement back into the league,” said Williams during his press conference yesterday at Baptist Sports Park. “I take full responsibility and apologize for my previous actions and I’ve used this year to reorganize my life and put focus on positive energy and positive ways to inspire, and coach, and motivate in this profession. I’m here to put my focus and my energies into working tirelessly on behalf of the Titans and making as much of a positive impact in every way possible as I can for them. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’m looking forward with excitement to get started.”
Speculation has already begun on local sports talk radio as to the impact this move will have on the Titans in the upcoming season.
Both media and fans alike have differing opinions on just what this will do for a team that desperately needs vast improvement if the current coaching staff is to remain for more than just one more season.
Williams is the in your face, vocal kind of coach that many feel the current staff is lacking, and he would not likely be against playing the villain opposite Munchak’s nice guy personality. The other side feels that the addition of Williams will be a constant distraction with the national media continually bringing up the suspension and all the allegations that came with the whole sorted affair.
Then there is the school of thought, an supported by facts that the last two season Williams lead the Saints as their defensive coordinator, the Saints defense struggled to stop anyone.
The Titans and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray struggled with that same scenario last season and many feel the addition of Williams won’t do much to change that this season.
One thing is for sure, William’s addition will give media and fans alike a lot of things to talk about when the team reports for OTA’s and training camp to prepare for the upcoming season.