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Gregg Williams hired by Titans after NFL reinstatement 02.07.13 at 1:28 pm ET
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Gregg Williams, one of the key figures in the Saints bounty scandal, was reinstated by the league on Wednesday and subsequently hired by the Titans as a senior assistant coach for the defense.

Williams had been suspended indefinitely by the league, but Wednesday’s NFL statement indicated Williams accepted responsibility for his role and pledged to never again be involved in any pay-for-performance program.

“The commissioner emphasized that Williams must fully conform to league rules and will be subject to periodic monitoring to confirm his compliance,” the league said.

With Williams’ return, everyone involved in the scandal has been reinstated.

Williams will be introduced by the Titans at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Read More: bounty scandal, Gregg Williams, New Orleans Saints, NFL
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Saints LB Jonathan Vilma gets in dig at Jets while criticizing anonymous teammate 01.03.13 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

College football: Fiesta Bowl, Oregon vs. Kansas State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Northeastern at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Stanford at USC, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)


‘™¦ An anonymous Saints player blasted first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in a New Orleans Times-Picayune story than ran Wednesday, and that did not sit well with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

“I’m bothered you reported it,” Vilma told the paper. “We’re not the Jets, who run to the media for everything.”

Under Spagnuolo, the Saints defense was ranked last in the NFL in total defense and allowed the most yards ever in one season (7,042). The unnamed player criticized Spagnuolo for his performance and his personality.

“He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap,” the player said. “[Spagnuolo has] no patience and zero personality. [He] has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. [I] think it’s even harder after having [former defensive coordinator] Gregg [Williams], who guys enjoyed.”

Meanwhile, Williams, who left his position with the Saints for the same job with the Rams a year ago but was suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal, will not return to St. Louis, according to a report from Fox Sports. Williams’ son, Blake, who was the Rams’ linebackers coach this past season, also reportedly will not be retained.

‘™¦ The Jets get criticized for talking to the media too much, and now they might get fined for not talking enough. With Rex Ryan reportedly vacationing in the Bahamas while owner Woody Johnson searches for a new general manager, the team has yet to hold a season-ending press conference. The Jets scheduled a conference for Tuesday, but the league mandates it must be held within a week after the final game.

Ryan received a public vote of confidence from Johnson in a team statement on Monday, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty regarding the rest of the coaching and front office staff.

“Everyone is in limbo,” a source told ESPN.

‘™¦ Adrian Peterson, who rushed for the second-most yards in a single NFL season (2.097), wants to contribute to the Vikings in another way. The running back acknowledged Wednesday that he’s been pushing for a chance to help on special teams.

“For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get in on field goal block,” Peterson said. “Come in off the edge, you know? It’s just going to take one block for them to really be like, ‘OK, you know what? Let’s take the chance and let you go out there and get it done. Kickoff return, I wouldn’t mind getting back there. I’m in it to win.”

Peterson, who returned 16 kickoffs as a rookie in 2007 (averaging 25.8 yards), isn’t likely to have his request approved by coach Leslie Frazier, especially after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking for an extra point earlier this season.

“He always asks,” special teams coach Mike Priefer said. “He’s a football player. Gunner, field goal block, returner. The guy is awesome. I always say yes, and then I ask the head coach and he says no. I know what the answer is going to be. I don’t even have to ask.”

Countered Peterson: “I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times. You never know what can happen.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 3, 1998, the Patriots lost to the Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 7-6. Which Patriots receiver set a team playoff record (since broken) with nine receptions for 104 yards?

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Gregg Williams, Jonathan Vilma, Rex Ryan
Gregg Williams embarking on backpacking sojourn in Thailand 08.15.12 at 5:44 pm ET
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Gregg Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator suspended from the NFL this season for his role in the team’s Bountygate scandal, has quietly stepped away from the spotlight.

Williams is now preparing to step even farther away, as CBS Sports’ NFL Insider Jason La Confora reports that the coach is beginning a backpacking sojourn through Thailand, Burma and Laos.

The coach would still like to return to the NFL as the Rams’ defensive coordinator next season when his suspension is over, La Canfora reports.

Read More: Gregg Williams, New Orleans, Rumor Mill,
Report: Bills, Redskins escape bounty investigation without penalty 08.02.12 at 9:23 am ET
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It looks like only the Saints will be penalized for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams‘ bounty programs.

According to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, both the Bills and Redskins were reportedly under investigation by the NFL to see if Williams had similar programs with those teams, but the two franchises apparently will escape the situation unscathed.

The NFL ‘€œfollowed up” on the Redskins situation but discovered, ‘€œno evidence of the type of program that existed at the Saints,’€ Maske’s source said. ‘€œUnlike the Saints case, there was no independent, multiple corroboration of statements made in the media.’€

The source said the Bills also are in the clear, but that source noted that the league is open to taking action against either franchise if new information is discovered in the future. It also was reported that there was no ongoing investigation by the NFL.

In March, the Buffalo News reported that Williams had a similar bounty situation in place when he was head coach of the Bills from 2001 to 2003.

Williams, who was the Redskins defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2007, was suspended indefinitely from the league for his role in the Saints bounty program. Along with Williams, coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season, GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for half of the 2012 season and assistant coach Joe Vitt was banned for eight games in 2012.

Read More: Gregg Williams, Rumor Mill, sean payton,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Suspended Saints player claims coaches told him to keep quiet about bounty program 05.08.12 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA playoffs: Celtics at Hawks, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT; WEEI)
NBA playoffs: Magic at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: 76ers at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Nuggets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Devils at Flyers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WRKO)
MLB: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Giants at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


‘™¦ According to a document revealed by Yahoo! Sports Monday, former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove said in a sworn statement that two Saints coaches encouraged him to deny the existence of the team’s bounty program to NFL investigators. Hargrove described meeting in February 2010 with then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and current assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and Williams telling Hargrove, “If we all stay on the same page, this will blow over.”

Yet, with all four suspended players appealing, the denials continue to fly.

“All we know from the declaration is that a couple of coaches were in trouble and hoped for support from him,” said Peter Ginsberg, attorney for suspended player Jonathan Vilma. “Anthony’s declaration in no way supports that he lied, that a bounty system existed or that players participated in any kind of inappropriate program. It’s a shame that the NFL needed to have mischaracterized that declaration in order to justify these punishments. It’s just another reason to conclude that the NFL has no evidence to justify what it has done to the players.”

‘™¦ Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who admitted that he drilled Nationals rookie Bryce Harper on purpose Sunday night, was suspended five games and fined by Major League Baseball.

“Obviously that’s not what we’re about,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We’re not about trying to injure people. Things that happen in the game happen in the game. Those are parts of the game. But as far as how the Phillies want to conduct themselves, we try to take the high road on things. By no means are we condoning this. We fully support what the commissioner’s office has decided to do.”

‘™¦ With the Big East stung by defections of high-profile programs, commissioner John Marinatto resigned Monday after less than three years in the top spot. School presidents reportedly were upset at Marinatto’s failure to keep Pittsburgh and Syracuse from heading to the ACC and West Virginia to the Big 12.

The Big East attempted to rebound by adding Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, SMU and Temple, plus Boise State, San Diego State and Navy for football only.

“Our recent expansion efforts have stabilized the conference for the long term, and we are likewise well positioned for our very important upcoming television negotiations,” Marinatto said in a statement from the conference. “As a result, I felt this was the right time to step aside and to let someone else lead us through the next chapter of our evolution.”

‘™¦ With the eighth-seeded Kings advancing to the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Real Clear Sports has a list of the 10 lowest seeds to win a championship.

No. 10 is the 1969 Celtics, who were the fourth and final seed in the East when they made the final title run of the Bill Russell era. No. 1 is the 2008 Fresno State baseball team, which won the College World Series and became the lowest-seeded team to win an NCAA title in any sport. The Bulldogs were seeded fourth in the four-team Long Beach regional, meaning they were no higher than 13th in the West.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 8, 2004, in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Royals, which Red Sox player hit two home runs, one of which was an inside-the-park homer?

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Read More: Anthony Hargrove, Bryce Harper, Cole Hamels, Gregg Williams
Saints bounty program specifically targeted Cam Newton, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner 03.21.12 at 7:00 pm ET
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The NFL released more details about the inner workings of the Saints bounty system on Wednesday, revealing that the league’s investigation found New Orleans specifically targeted quarterback Cam Newton in addition to Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.

Rodgers, Favre and Warner were all identified as specific targets when the original announcement of the league’s findings was made March 2, but Newton is a new addition to the list of targeted players.

As a result of the investigation, multiple penalties were levied against the Saints, including an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and a six-game suspension for assistant head coach Joe Vitt.

According to the release, Williams and Vitt not only ran a bounty program; they admitted to intentionally misleading NFL investigators in 2010 and continuing to run the program.

Wednesday’s release from the NFL also revealed just how much Payton knew about the program while it was operating. According to the investigation, Payton received an email before the team’s opener in 2011 that stated “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers(sic).” The release states that when asked about the email, Payton said it referred to a bounty on Rodgers. That statement contradicts Payton’s comments from earlier this year in which he claimed he did not know about a bounty program within his team.

The release also states that Payton was made aware of the league’s bounty investigation in early 2010. Payton said he told Williams and Vitt to “make sure our ducks are in a row” ahead of an interview with league investigators. The release states that Payton said he never asked the coaches what happened in their interviews, did not ask if a bounty program was in place and did not give any instructions to discontinue the bounty program.

The report says general manager Mickey Loomis told Payton in January 2012 that the league reopened the investigation, and Payton “took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.”

The league maintained in the release that Saints ownership remained ignorant of the bounty program.

“There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt, Mickey Loomis
New Orleans shaken by NFL punishments for bounty scandal at 4:56 pm ET
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed how serious he is about ridding the NFL of bounty systems when he announced the punishments levied against the Saints organization as a result of the New Orleans bounty system.

The penalties were severe, ranging from a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton, an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, an eight-game ban for general manager Mickey Loomis and a six-game ban for assistant coach Joe Vitt. The Saints also lost two years of second-round draft picks and have to pay a $500,000 fine to the league.

The repercussions of those penalties are hitting the New Orleans area hard.

In an interview with NFL Network’s Jay Glazer, Payton said he was stunned by the severity of the punishment and told Glazer “I’m not OK.”

Quarterback Drew Brees (@drewbrees) shared his reaction on Twitter, saying, I am speechless. Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear and explanation for this.

Punter Thomas Morstead (@thomasmorstead) also reacted via Twitter. This is unbelievable!!! Feels like I just got punched in the gut, Morestead wrote. A few hours later, Morstead added, This will make for a great story when we win it all this year’€¦ Coming back strong’€¦Again! #whodat #Saints

Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (@JDunbar56) tweeted, Can we all say #excessive. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Drew Brees, Gregg Williams, Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish has memorable debut 03.08.12 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Sabres at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Lightning at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Magic at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: ACC tournament, Boston College vs. NC State, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: ACC tournament, Wake Forest vs. Maryland, noon (ESPNU)
College basketball: Big 12 tournament, Kansas State vs. Baylor, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Big 10 tournament, Minnesota vs. Northwestern, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: ACC tournament, Virginia Tech vs. Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Big 10 tournament, Nebraska vs. Purdue, 7:55 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: ACC tournament, Georgia Tech vs. Miami, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)


‘™¦ Heralded Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made his spring training debut Wednesday and was impressive in two innings against the Padres. The Japanese 25-year-old allowed no runs on two hits, although Will Venable blasted a ball that the wind kept in the park for a double.

Afterward, Darvish said through his translator that, contrary to the perception of apparently everyone else in the park, the wind helped the ball and that, “I don’t think he really squared it up.”

Responded Venable: “Maybe his perception of reality [in the majors] isn’t right yet. But otherwise, I’ve got no comment.”

‘™¦ Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has become the face of the NFL bounty scandal, but there aren’t many formers players or fellow coaches speaking out against him. In The New York Times, Judy Battista has a closer look at Williams and how he developed his aggressive mentality while building loyalty along the way.

Meanwhile, Giants coach Tom Coughlin spoke out during a Wednesday radio appearance, saying: “It’s not about trying to inflict purposeful injury on another player. It has no point in this game.”

‘™¦ LSU women’s soccer goalie Morlan “Mo” Isom, who was named the school’s homecoming queen in the fall, is trying out to become a kicker on the Tigers football team. Isom, who completed her soccer career in the fall, has another year of eligibility to play a different sport. The 6-foot tall Isom reportedly kicked a 51-yard field goal while practicing last year.

“People’s first presumption about this is that it’s a media stunt or some attempt for attention and glory. That couldn’t be any further from the truth,” Isom said. “I feel it was a goal God placed in my heart. It’s just something I want to do.”

Here’s Isom showing off her leg in a soccer game, scoring from 90 yards away.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 8, 1988, the Bruins acquired goalie Andy Moog from the Oilers for which two players?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I guess in life and in sports we all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.” Peyton Manning, at Wednesday’s press conference announcing his departure from the Colts

STAT OF THE DAY: 0 — Number of 3-point baskets the Celtics hit in eight tries during Wednesday’s 103-71 loss to the 76ers, marking the first time in more than three years they did not hit a trey

‘NET RESULTS: Wizards guard Nick Young shoots possibly the worst layup in NBA history. However, the Wizards had the last laugh as they rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to beat the Lakers.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Goalie Bill Ranford and forward Geoff Courtnall

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Worcester native Andy Ross of OK Go turns 33 Thursday. He’s the one in the black jacket.

Read More: Gregg Williams, Mo Isom, Will Venable, Yu Darvish
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams snaps at reporter for ‘stupid questions’ 08.27.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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A short training camp can put a certain degree of pressure on a coaching staff, as Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams aptly demonstrated in a recent press conference.

Williams, who openly criticized his team this week for a letdown performance against the Texans, set his sights on the media Friday. When told by a reporter he seemed tense, Williams responded, “I’m tense because you’re asking stupid questions, OK? That’s why I’m tense.”

The former Bills head coach seemed fed up with talking about how much the Saints should play their starters in the preseason.

“That’s one of the things that gets on my nerves about the press about, ‘starters,’ ” he said. “Everybody on our team is a starter. What happens if one of the guys makes this team in the fourth quarter? All of a sudden they’re not a starter?”

New Orleans plays Oakland Sunday night in the team’s third game of the preseason.

Read More: Gregg Williams, Rumor Mill, Saints,