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Gregg Williams reinstated by the NFL, joins Titans staff

Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints talks

Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints talks with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys. (Dec. 19, 2009) Credit: Getty Images

Gregg Williams, one of the central figures in the Bountygate scandal that rocked the Saints’ organization last year, has been reinstated by the NFL and has taken a job with the Tennessee Titans as senior assistant/defense.

Williams, the former Saints’ defensive coordinator, organized the team’s bounty system from 2009-11 and was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his involvement in the program. Goodell indicated last month he would consider reinstating Williams if he was in position to work for another club.

“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 league said in a statement. “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.”

Williams coached 11 seasons with the Titans from 1990-2000, including four seasons as defensive coordinator. He was with the team when the Saints went to the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. They lost to the Rams in the title game.

“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 Head Coach Mike Munchak, per the Tennesseean. “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.”

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated the suspensions of four players – Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove – in December after presiding over an appeal of the punishment initially handed down last March by Goodell. The commissioner reinstated Saints head coach Sean Payton last month.

New York Sports