Source: Titans interested in hiring Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gregg Williams may
be a step closer to returning to the NFL after being suspended
indefinitely for his role in the Saints’ bounty program.

Titans coach Mike Munchak has talked
with Williams and is interested in adding him to his Tennessee staff,
said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Sunday to
The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Titans do
not discuss personnel moves until they are finalized.

Before the Titans could hire Williams,
he must be reinstated by the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell
suspended him indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty
program, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday the league has not
yet addressed Williams’ potential reinstatement.

Munchak did not immediately answer a
message left by the AP on Sunday. The Titans coach has not talked with
the media about his team since the day after the season ended.

How quickly the league considers
reinstating Williams may take at least a week with the San Francisco
49ers arriving in New Orleans on Sunday to kick off festivities leading
up to the Feb. 3 Super Bowl.

Williams is the only coach or player who has yet to return to the NFL in the wake of the bounty scandal.

Goodell just lifted the suspension for
New Orleans coach Sean Payton on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than
expected. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight
games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six. Four current or former
Saints players were also suspended after an investigation found the
club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays,
including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.

Williams was the Saints defensive
coordinator from 2009-11 and was hired by St. Louis in January 2012 by
former Titans coach Jeff Fisher before being suspended indefinitely in
March 20112. Williams’ son, Blake, also was on Fisher’s staff as the
Rams’ linebacker coach — but his contract was not renewed earlier this

Munchak has known Williams since 1990.
Munchak was playing for the then-Houston Oilers when Williams became an
assistant coach with the team. They also coached together with the
Oilers; Munchak oversaw the offensive line starting in 1994 and Williams
rose from defensive assistant to coaching special teams, then
linebackers and finally defensive coordinator.

Williams left the Titans to become head
coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2001 before becoming defensive
coordinator with the Washington Redskins from 2004-07. He also was
defensive coordinator in Jacksonville in 2008 before being hired by the
Saints in 2009.

Williams also has a relationship with
Munchak’s current defensive coordinator, Jerry Gray. When Williams left
for Buffalo, Gray went with him and served as Williams’ defensive
coordinator with the Bills.

Even though Gray currently has the job,
the Titans’ defense needs help and Munchak will be coaching for his job
in 2013 after going 6-10 in his second season as head coach. One reason
for the losing record was Tennessee’s inability to stop anyone; the
Titans set a franchise record allowing 471 points in 2012. The only
change Munchak has made to his defensive staff was letting linebackers
coach Frank Bush go and moving Chet Paralavecchio into the job from
assisting with special teams.

In Williams’ last season with the
Titans, Tennessee ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, first
in passing yards allowed and third in rushing defense. The Titans also
set a franchise-record for fewest points allowed with 191 with an
aggressive defense.