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Williams apologizes for Saints’ bounty scandal
NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Gregg Williams knows he’s got to prove himself every day.
The former Saints defensive coordinator said he received a “great rebirth” Thursday when he was reinstated by the NFL and hired by the Tennessee Titans after serving a nearly yearlong suspension for his role in the New Orleans bounty scandal.
But now that he’s back in the league, he’ll have to change the way he’s done things in the past.
“I’ve got a very positive outlook on things,” Williams said. “I understand and respect the game an awful lot, and the past is the past and what I’m talking about doing right now is creating a resume from this day forward.”
“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,” Williams said, reading from a statement.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
The league issued a statement saying that Goodell cited several reasons for reinstating Williams, including Williams accepting responsibility for his role in the bounty program, his commitment to never be involved in any pay for performance system and pledging to teach safe play and respect for the rules.
“The commissioner emphasized that Williams must fully conform to league rules and will be subject to periodic monitoring to confirm his compliance,” the NFL said in its statement.
He said he spoke to football players from the Pop Warner level up to high school over the past year. He also worked with his charity, traveled and tried to improve himself including losing about “a kindergartener” when challenged by his sons to lose weight.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six. Four current or former Saints players were also suspended after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.
Williams coached for the Saints between 2009 and 2011 and was hired as defensive coordinator by the St. Louis Rams in January 2012 before being suspended. Williams had been free to look for a new job in the NFL since the playoffs started, and now he is returning to the team where he got his start in the league back in 1990 as a quality control assistant.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said he spent the past month trying to figure out how to improve his coaching staff and a defense that set a franchise-record giving up 471 points. He immediately thought about Williams, so Munchak said he called Goodell for a long talk to learn about the bounty situation and Williams‘ status.
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