NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Count former Tennessee Titans president Jeff Diamond among those who feel it is a good thing for Gregg Williams to return to the teams coaching staff.
Indefinitely suspended last year by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in the New Orleans Saints Bountygate case while defensive coordinator from 2009-11, Williams can now return to coaching in the league only after a team expresses interest and the league reinstates him.
Multiple reports citing unnamed sources say Williams and Titans head coach Mike Munchak have discussed and finalized his return to the Titans coaching staff, where Williams worked from 1990-2000, including the last four seasons as defensive coordinator before becoming head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2001.
A Titans official said Sunday that Munchak was not available for comment. The two-year Titans coach has not spoken to local media since the end of the disappointing 6-10 season.
I think hiring Gregg can be a positive, said Diamond, the former NFL Executive of the Year and Titans president from 1999-2004, the first season of which the Titans went to the Super Bowl. He worked two seasons with Williams.
First off, Gregg has learned his lesson, Diamond added, so there will be no more issues there. He has paid his penalty.
Williams was suspended for the 2012 season after the NFL determined he was the leader of a bounty system among players for their deeds on the field. The bounty total was determined to have been as much as 50,000 at times.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was recently reinstated by the NFL after serving a one-season suspension.
Heading into the 2012 season, Williams had been hired as defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher, his former boss with the OilersTitans. Williams hiring by the Rams came before the NFL announced its investigation into Bountygate. Fisher has since replaced Williams in the job with former Dallas Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan.
Williams parlayed the success of the Titans defense under his tutelage into becoming known as one of the leagues best defensive minds. After three seasons as head coach of the Bills, he was defensive coordinator with Washington and Jacksonville before moving to New Orleans.
Gregg is a very good and successful football coach, Diamond said. He can add knowledge and experience to that coaching staff. It is a smart move.
In agreement with Diamond that having Williams return to the fold is a good idea is 13-year OilersTitans Pro Bowl offensive lineman Brad Hopkins. He played alongside Munchak, the Pro Football Hall of Famer, as teammate before being coached by him as position coach.
I think that it is fabulous, Hopkins said. If you are worried about him getting the franchise in trouble, thats silly. The guy is coming off an investigation that will make sure he will never do anything like that again.
From there, whats left? Its Gregg Williams, the coach, and thats all the things that made him a great coach. He motivates player and understands and coaches his schemes. His body of work is so extensive.
Currently, there are no openings on the Titans defensive coaching staff. Jerry Gray remains as defensive coordinator after his unit gave up the most points in franchise history last season. When Williams became head coach of the Bills, he named Gray as his defensive coordinator.
Gregg will be able work great with Jerry, Diamond said. They have a lot of time coaching together.
There was one defensive coaching staff change. Linebackers coach Frank Bush was fired and replaced by Chet Parlavecchio, who was promoted from special teams assistant.
While commenting two weeks ago through a team release on all the coaching staff changes, including firing offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and promoting Dowell Loggains from quarterbacks coach, Munchak hinted there might be more coaching changes to come.
We still have some spots remaining to fill, said Munchak, who worked alongside Williams on former head coach Jeff Fishers staff as offensive line coach. And I am always looking to improve our staff. So, it is still a work in progress.
Diamond figures the professional and personal relationship between Munchak, Gray and Williams in the Fisher coaching tree was key in any decision to hire Williams.
Everybody is trying to turn the page, especially Gregg, Diamond said.