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Joe Biddle: Is 'Bountygate' coach worthy of chance with Titans?

By the time you read this, former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will likely be joining the team for a second go-around.

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason Canfora quoted an anonymous NFL source earlier this week that Williams has been offered the position of assistant head coach/defense.  

If true, Williams and the Titans would have to get clearance from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to give Williams the green light to return to the league after an indefinite suspension from the game after allegedly being the ringleader in a system that paid players “bounty’’ money for knocking opponents out of games. 

It led to suspensions for Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton for failing to confront Williams and ensure that the alleged policy was terminated. 

Is it a good idea for the Titans to hire Williams? Everyone can form their own opinions, but there have been cases where players committed worse acts and were allowed back.

In college football, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino got caught red-handed having a romantic affair with a former Arkansas volleyball player. Petrino had hired the Arkansas graduate to be a member of the athletics department staff in football. It was a hire he forced through the red tape of state universities.

His biggest transgression was lying to the Arkansas athletics director and the university president.  

But it didn’t stop Western Kentucky from hiring Petrino and Hilltoppers fans showed up in large numbers when Petrino was announced as their new head coach.

In the NFL, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick served a prison sentence for supporting and owning a dog-fighting ring in his home state of Virginia.

Vick went from the prison exercise yard back to the Eagles. He did the crime, did the time. All is forgiven.

Can Gregg Williams help the Titans? Justin Bieber could help the Titans.

He is a quality defensive coordinator, a bit of a gambler who is willing to take chances. He won’t sit back and watch an opposing quarterback pick his defense apart.

He is intense during games and expects his players to be the same.

It’s unclear whether current defensive coordinator Jerry Gray will retain that title, or more importantly, remain first in the pecking order. Who will the defensive players answer to? Will it be Gray in name and Williams in reality? Based on last year’s defense, Gray is lucky to have seemingly escaped Titans coach Mike Munchak’s flurry of pink slips this offseason.

Williams will bring fire and brimstone to the sidelines, although he may start out in the press box to avoid the cameras that will hone in on him and his story. 

I don’t begin to believe that Williams did anything more than what some other NFL coaches have done. It’s common knowledge if you knock the other team’s quarterback or star running back out of the game, your team has a much better chance of winning.

I don’t condone trying to injure an opponent on purpose in order to take him out of the game. Everyone in the NFL is trying to make a living. To put someone out of the league via a career-ending injury is just wrong. No debate.

I also believe Gregg Williams will toe the line, knowing one wrong step will put him on the streets forever.

His knowledge, experience and leadership will be invaluable to what has been a disjointed defense.

Joe Biddle is a four-time sports writer of the year in Tennessee and a 2013 inductee to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. He can be reached at


Posted on: 1/31/2013


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