Saints, Gregg Williams had ugly breakup

I’ve referenced the rocky relationship between the New Orleans Saints and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams leading up to their reunion in Friday’s preseason opener at St. Louis. For a more detailed account, check out this column by The Times-Picayune’s Larry Holder.

Holder referenced past quotes from Saints coach Sean Payton and testimony from Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt during the bounty hearings to point out how their relationship with Williams deteriorated even before the bounty scandal broke.

Vitt testified about Williams' "insatiable desire to talk about himself" and stressed that Payton wasn’t planning to extend Williams' contract after the 2011 season, even before Williams got the opportunity to work for friend Jeff Fisher as the Rams' defensive coordinator.

"It didn't end pretty. It didn't end nice. I’m sure that Gregg has a lot of animosity towards me now," Vitt testified.

When Payton returned from his year-long bounty suspension, he answered a question about Williams by saying, "I have no interest in talking to Gregg."

However, Payton later added that he had no regrets about hiring Williams in 2009 since it led to a Super Bowl victory.

"Listen, we had a good run," Payton said. "He's a part of what we established as a staff and as a team. That's something that can never be taken away."

Payton said this week that facing Williams, who is now the Rams’ defensive coordinator, is "not a big deal." However, the Saints will be prepared in case Williams decides to blitz relentlessly -- as he has been known to do in the past.