The St. Louis Rams' 2013 schedule became a little more interesting Thursday when the NFL reinstated Gregg Williams following an indefinite suspension relating to his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.
The reinstatement means Williams will accompany his new team, the Tennessee Titans, against his would-be team, St. Louis, at the Edward Jones Dome. Williams' title with the Titans is senior assistant/defense.
2013 Titans Opponents
The Rams had hired Williams as defensive coordinator before the NFL suspended him. They decided against retaining Williams, and have yet to hire a coordinator. They did not retain Williams' son, Blake, who had coached linebackers and reportedly played a role in making the defensive calls.
"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 Titans announced. "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."
Periodic monitoring? I'm not sure what that entails, but suffice to say, Williams surely must know he's out of second chances.
Williams worked with Rams coach Jeff Fisher when both were with the Houston Oilers and Titans through most of the 1990s. Williams' hiring in St. Louis last offseason seemed to signal a commitment to an edgier, more in-your-face style of defense. But with Williams' reputation taking a big hit and the NFL continually stressing player safety, I wondered whether a team would ever take a chance on Williams in the future.
The Rams seem better off without Williams' baggage, in my view. The subject will be worth revisiting once the Rams make their hire and Williams makes his mark on the Titans' defense.
"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 coach Mike Munchak said, according to the team. "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."