There was never any evidence the New York Giants had taken cheap shots on San Francisco 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams during the NFC Championship Game.
There was only proof that some Giants players hoped to capitalize on Williams' history of concussions. Those hopes, expressed by Devin Thomas and Jacquian Williams, will not result in league discipline.
"Players are held accountable for their actions on the field," league spokesman Greg Aiello said. "There were no illegal hits to the head or neck area against Kyle Williams on Sunday. There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way."
As for the fans threatening Williams following his pivotal fumble? Williams told ESPN Radio those threats were "shocking" even though he expected harsh criticism.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the matter appears closed, with Aiello saying the league had no additional comment. Maiocco: "Coincidentally, 49ers co-owner John York is the chair of the NFL's newly formed Health and Safety Advisory Committee. New York Giants owner John Mara serves on the committee."
Also from Maiocco: thoughts on each of the 49ers' scheduled free agents. On Dashon Goldson: "The 49ers offered him a five-year contract last year. After he turned it down and the 49ers took the offer off the table, he returned to the 49ers on a one-year, $2 million contract. The 49ers might extend another five-year, $25 million contract. If that's not enough, they can keep him around with the franchise tag at one year, $6.2 million."
Taylor Price of 49ers.com checks in from the Pro Bowl.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers 49ers notes, including one about Brad Seely's candidacy as Colts head coach.
Keith Goldner of Advanced NFL Stats says it's clear the 49ers should have accepted a penalty for running into the kicker, then gone for it on fourth-and-1. Instead, the 49ers declined the penalty, letting the Giants take over possession at their own 7.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times puts into perspective the Seahawks' Pro Bowl haul. O'Neil: "In the previous two years, the Seahawks were the only team in the NFL that did not have a player either named to the Pro Bowl or chosen as an injury replacement. Seattle's five Pro Bowlers matches the franchise's fourth-largest contingent. Three of Seattle's four starters in the secondary will be appearing in the Pro Bowl, evidence of one of the biggest improvements in Seattle last season."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along thoughts from Brandon Browner, who spent four seasons in the CFL before Seattle gave him a chance this season. Browner on his tryout: "It was most definitely just to make the team. I told Coach [Pete] Carroll at my workout that I would really appreciate a shot -- a legitimate shot -- at making this team. A lot of guys get shots, but there are a lot of guys brought in [to be] camp bodies. I told him, 'You brought me in. I can do some things with this team.'"
Also from Henderson: Brock Huard and Kevin Calabro discuss whether the Seahawks should have interest in Peyton Manning.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic questions whether former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians would join the Cardinals as quarterbacks coach. Somers: "I'm hearing, however, that Arians isn't particularly anxious to become a position coach again. He's been a successful offensive coordinator, so you can't blame him for not wanting to take a step down. Arians was the Steelers receivers coach when Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator there. Arians replaced Whisenhunt and worked closely with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If the Cardinals were to hire Arians, he could work with quarterbacks or receivers. If he took the receivers job, current receivers coach John McNulty could become quarterbacks coach. He worked with quarterbacks while at Rutgers."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com confirms that Beanie Wells underwent knee surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews.
Also from Urban: Patrick Peterson will play in the Pro Bowl as a return specialist. He'd like to go as a cornerback in the future.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expects Steven Jackson to fit well in Brian Schottenheimer's offense. Jackson: "I have played against his teams a lot and they all come with that attitude and a certain level of play. They have that 'it.' It's hard to explain what that 'it' is to a ... fan. But it's just something about [the way they play] when they go between those lines. Coach Fisher's teams have a certain something that's hard to put a finger on. But I have to assume it's [his] leadership."
Matthew Hathaway of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes a sports economist as saying the Edward Jones Dome likely would need $200 million to $300 million in upgrades to prevent the Rams from breaking their lease after the 2014 season. Hathaway: "The Dome was largely financed with $256 million in revenue bonds, and the repayment of that 30-year debt will be $720 million. Every year, Missouri spends $12 million to pay off the debt, and St. Louis and St. Louis County each pay $6 million annually. The county's portion is funded through a 3.5 percent hotel tax approved by voters in 1990. The lease calls for the Rams to stay at the Dome through 2025 -- but only if the stadium is first tier at two points: 2005 and 2015. The Rams waived the requirement the first time in exchange for $30 million in improvements. This time, there are a series of deadlines in 2012, starting with the CVC's mandate to deliver a plan by Feb. 1."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, is not lacking for confidence. Williams: "What you'll see is that everywhere I've gone, I've been able to get a top five defense during the time I'm there. Anywhere from one to four, one to five, in all of the stops I've made. ... I get way too much credit for the X's and O's, but my specialty is handling people, especially difficult people."
Also from Thomas: Schottenheimer has streamlined his terminology.
More from Thomas: Rams owner Stan Kroenke has explored the possibility of bidding on the Los Angeles Dodgers. There are those words again: Los Angeles. Thomas: "NFL cross-ownership rules prevent an NFL owner from owning a majority interest in another pro franchise outside of his market, if that non-football franchise is in a city with an NFL team. L.A. does not have a pro football franchise and hasn't had one since 1994. It's also OK for Kroenke -- or any NFL owner -- to own two pro sports franchises in the same city. But the cross-ownership rules have been bent and modified over the years, to the point where some might say they're not really hard-and-fast rules."