Michael Silver: Gregg Williams Instructed Saints Defenders To Injure Offensive 49er Players

Sept. 18, 2011;New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during their game against the Chicago Bears at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

+ THE REPORT THAT MAY END HIS CAREER. Gregg Williams, the indefinitely suspended former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, may never coach another football game again. Michael Silver from Yahoo! Sports wrote a scathing (and scorching) report that Gregg Williams instructed his players, during a speech the night before New Orleans' Division Playoff game, to injure San Francisco's offensive players and that "at one point made a hand signal suggesting he would personally pay for a ferocious shot on 49ers quarterback Alex Smith". According to the report a documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, while working on another project, recorded the speech. Silver writes:

Early in the 12-minute speech, Williams told his players, "Kill the head, the body will die" – one of the coach’s signature phrases, according to numerous current and former Saints defenders. In this case, Williams designated 49ers halfback Frank Gore as "the head" and then ratcheted up the rhetoric.

"We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head," Williams told the players. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."

Is this the type of speech that you can envision defensive coaches giving before a huge game? Sort of. Can't you see a charged Mike Zimmer saying anything to fire his boys up, demanding that they beat the living hell out of their next opponents? It fires up the players, pumps their vicious blood, gets them numb to everything, save for the tunnel vision that focuses on their own responsibilities.

Money. It's all about the now-legency bounty.

Ultimately we understand the importance of this story. We get that the league is taking this very serious, and perhaps they should. For the rhetoric they've promoted, changing rules and increasing discipline to promote player safety, they can't turn a blind eye to this, money or not.

So how did the overall speech impact the game? Alex Smith scored four touchdowns, including a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter. Frank Gore averaged 6.8 yards/rush on 13 carries and the Saints defense allowed 407 yards to the league's 26th-ranked offense. Sounds like Williams' speech was damn-inspiring, son. We're guessing that no money exchanged hands the next day.

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