Gregg Williams and the St. Louis Rams made an attempt Friday to break from the NFL's investigation into Williams' former team, the New Orleans Saints, for alleged bounties on opponents.
Williams, who left the Saints to become the Rams' defensive coordinator this offseason, took full responsibility. Given that he is in St. Louis, however, the Saints could be the ones most likely to incur the consequences of his mea culpa.
Williams' statement, released by the Rams, reads as follows:
"I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again."
The phrase "pay for performance" was verbatim from the NFL's statement of allegations. "Mr. Benson" is Saints owner Tom Benson.
In my view, Williams' statement is an attempt to take ownership of the story to the degree Williams can do so, on the theory that honesty in the beginning can mitigate trouble in the end.
It remains unclear to what extend the NFL's punishment will focus on Williams. He was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans. He has been known for publicly encouraging his players to take out opposing quarterbacks. He has admitted knowledge of the bounty program and said he should have stopped it.
The league will presumably agree.