Niners WR-PR Williams questions NFL sanctions

Kyle Williams can’t believe the New York Giants weren’t punished

by the NFL for targeting him in last year’s NFC championship

game.

The punt returner whose mistakes cost the 49ers a chance to make

the last Super Bowl, and who will miss Sunday’s game against

Baltimore with an injured left knee, said Wednesday he is

”shocked” that the Giants escaped discipline.

”The only thing crazy to me was that nothing came of it after

they came down so much on the Saints,” Williams said.

”The league announced the bounties and that (former Saints

defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams said the same things the

Giants were saying. They took it to the highest level they could

with the Saints. But it seemed like the league decided it was no

big deal what the Giants said.”

What Giants special teamers Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas

said after New York’s 20-17 overtime victory sounded similar to

what the Saints were sanctioned for.

”The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our

biggest thing was to take him out of the game,” said linebacker

Jacquian Williams, who forced the 49ers returner’s overtime fumble,

which set up the winning field goal.

Thomas recovered both errors – the first was considered a muff

when the ball glanced off Williams’ right knee.

”He’s had a lot of concussions,” Thomas said. ”We were just

like, `We’ve got to put a hit on that guy.”’

The NFL did not punish either player following that game,

saying, ”There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would

suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way.”

And the Giants were not penalized once the Saints bounties were

announced.

”Guys are trying to put guys out of the game every game, so it

did not surprise me,” Kyle Williams said. ”You know a guy has a

history of injuries, you’ll go after it. You might not say it, but

you do it.”

But the Giants said it.

”Yeah,” Williams said with a shrug. ”But it’s all in the past

now. And we’re at the Super Bowl.”

The Giants declined to comment Wednesday.

Williams also was subjected to hateful, even threatening

comments via social media after the 49ers lost the conference

championship game. He talked with his father, Kenny, the executive

vice president of the Chicago White Sox, and was comforted by his

dad’s advice.

”He told me that a strong man gets through this,” Kyle

Williams said. ”He said, `I have no doubt you will,’ and that’s

the last time we talked about it.”

Williams felt guilty about last year’s loss, but said teammates

immediately came to his defense and supported him. He is getting

the same vibes from them now as he watches while they play for the

NFL title.

”We’re like a family, and we comfort each other, help each

other out,” he said. ”The guys like myself and Mario (Manningham)

and Kendall (Hunter), who are hurt and can’t play, we’re still a

big part of our success.”

Coincidentally, Williams was injured trying to avoid Saints

linebacker Jonathan Vilma – one of the players initially suspended

in the bounty case – in San Francisco’s 31-21 win at the Superdome

on Nov. 25. He re-entered the stadium for the first time Tuesday

during Super Bowl media day, admitting it felt ”strange.”

He also said he has an empty feeling, but that would change with

a win Sunday.

”Honestly it’s been bittersweet because I’m not lacing them up,

I’m not going to be able to be out there,” Williams said. ”But

I’m still there with them. I’m playing my role in a sense.

”I’m a semi-coach at this point, helping out the younger guys,

whatever I can see on the sidelines. I’ve got the earpiece in … I

have a limited role right now, but it’s my role. I’ve got to do

it.”

The 49ers insist upon it. Their general manager, Trent Baalke,

spoke with Kenny Williams about the importance of Kyle remaining

involved in the 49ers’ everyday routine.

Not that the father expected anything less of the son.

”He’s been around athletics all his life and he knows there are

different factors that go into ultimate team success,” Kenny

Williams said. ”That’s one of the things that has been expressed

to me from Trent directly is that Kyle’s got some leadership

abilities and he did not want him to go away like some guys do when

they get hurt. He wanted his voice heard and he wanted him front

and center with all the responsibilities. I’m glad to hear that

he’s following through on all that.”

Still, Kyle Williams would prefer to follow through on it with a

big catch or long punt return.

”It ticks me off, because you want to suit up and help the team

and you can’t,” he said.

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in New Orleans contributed to

this story.