Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 3/21/12
ST. LOUIS The St. Louis Rams' offseason momentum came to an abrupt halt Wednesday. A reconstruction that began in January, with the firings of Steve Spagnuolo and Billy Devaney, met its first crisis with Gregg Williams' unchecked ego to blame. The Rams are collateral damage in the worst scandal to rock the NFL in recent memory. Yes, commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling will shake New Orleans much longer. But St. Louis' cost in the calamity is high. Williams was suspended indefinitely, leaving his friend and boss Jeff Fisher to deny knowledge of the defensive coordinator's bounty program with the Saints. The news represents a shift from the progress coming out of Rams Park for a franchise trying to become relevant after failing to win more than three games in four of the past five seasons. Williams' punishment is a blow to that effort, because St. Louis was trending upward before Wednesday. Since January, the Rams beat out the Miami Dolphins for Fisher. They hired a promising general manager in Les Snead. They signed Pro Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan. They made a smart trade for the second pick in April's NFL Draft with the Washington Redskins, a move that gives them a chance to collect young talent the next three seasons. And before Bountygate, Williams' presence was considered a positive as well. He offered a Super Bowl-winning pedigree that enhanced the idea that change was underway under Fisher. He represented a reason to believe the Rams would no longer be soft and dispassionate. Instead, Williams placed Fisher in an awkward situation because of greed. Yes, the suspension is justified. But the new Rams coach must make plans for one season perhaps more without the man who once said the extra "g" in his first name stands for "genius." The Rams will adapt without Williams. Fisher, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and assistant head coach Dave McGinnis all have experience as defensive coordinators. Someone will fill the void. Yet, the scandal makes Fisher look naive when speaking about his old friend. "This organization, including myself, had no idea when we hired Coach Williams, the potential for this to happen," Fisher said. "I've often been asked behind the scenes, 'Had you known about it would you have hired him?' Of course not. You don't go out and hire somebody that's going to potentially be suspended for an entire year. However, I know Gregg, and I know him well. Gregg would not have put this organization in this position, accepted this job only to be suspended and put us behind the eight ball if you will. It's the National Football League. At times you have to adjust." Fisher will adjust, but the damage left behind by Williams' actions could linger in St. Louis. The relationship between Fisher and Williams could be strained. And if Williams walks a sideline again, he will no longer be viewed as a strong leader who had earned the respect of his peers. No, he will be known as the conniving mastermind behind a plot that gave the NFL one of its blackest marks. He will be known as someone who brought embarrassment to his name and the organizations that trusted him. "There's a great deal of information out there that we will never know," Fisher said. "This was a very extensive investigation and there's a lot out there, that I would assume, would not be disclosed. (Williams) has a passion for this game and a passion for playing hard-nosed, aggressive defense. I think there's a lot out there that will probably be locked up in a drawer some place." Fisher is right. Much will be locked away from this episode, because Williams crossed a fine line between healthy confidence and destructive ego. As a result, the Rams find themselves involved in this mess. Ego can be a valuable trait for NFL coaches, as with leaders in any competitive business. Without ego, Williams doesn't become one of the game's most strategic minds. Without ego, Williams isn't a major reason why the Saints win their first Super Bowl in franchise history during the 2009 season. Without ego, Williams doesn't become a symbol of the Rams' resurgence before news of the bounty program swept across the country. But ego without decency can harm individuals and the institutions they represent. Williams caused unknown, but deep, harm to the Saints because his drive for power clouded his common sense. Meanwhile, he placed the Rams in the odd position of continuing a rebuilding effort without him. No matter the scandal's result -- and more will be punished -- NFL life will carry on with or without Williams. Yet, the Saints and Rams will be weaker in the coming years for their connections to him. "We have to move on," Fisher said. "Our job is to win games in this organization and Gregg has to learn from mistake, and he's paying very dearly for them. But I know him. It's going to be very difficult for him. He's going to do his best to do whatever it takes to get re-instated." Fisher and the Rams will do their best to move forward. But make no mistake: Williams' damage is done. As a result, St. Louis' offseason of recovery must overcome its first serious test.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst: NFL Week 2
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Shane Vereen out for season with triceps injury

Report: Adrian Peterson determined to play again in 2016

Report: McDaniels plans to leave Pats, pursue head-coaching job

Report: Cam Newton feels good, ankle not a problem

Pat Riley: Chris Bosh’s Heat career is ‘likely over’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Palmer's death brings heartfelt statements from Woods, Obama

Paul Pierce announces he will retire after upcoming season

Report: Russell Wilson believed to have a sprained MCL

WATCH: Travis Kelce shows off nifty dance moves after TD

Report: Miles fired by LSU; Orgeron named interim coach

WATCH: Allen Robinson does 'hands up, don't shoot' after TD

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

15 greatest calls of Vin Scully's career

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Saban rips LSU for firing Miles in middle of season

Box Score: 9/26 - Ratings, Cosell, kitties and stadium names

Ten biggest winners and losers from NFL Week 3

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Nerlens Noel calls Sixers frontcourt situation ‘silly’

Les Miles makes it clear he plans on coaching again

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kevin Garnett's unique NBA career proves anything is possible

Jose Fernandez joins tragic list of premature departures

Week 4 in college football as explained by Queen

The good, bad, and ugly from Week 3 in the NFL season

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker