Former NFL coach Gregg Williams is back in the game, as he will have a new challenge to keep him busy.
On Thursday, it was announced that he will be a defensive coordinator in the XFL under head coach Reggie Barlow.
Also, to be clear, Gregg Williams will be a defensive coordinator in the @XFL2023. The head coaches were named earlier this year.
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) June 9, 2022
Reggie Barlow Building his XFL Staff
Director of Player Pers. Von Hutchins
Offensive Coordinator Fred Kaiss
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
— 𝑷𝒉𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒔 (@PHLSports1) June 9, 2022
Williams had been a coach in the NFL going back to the beginning of the 1990s when he broke into the league with the Houston Texans as a special teams coach.
But Cleveland Browns fans will best remember him as their defensive coordinator a few years back.
When head coach Hue Jackson was fired midway through the 2018 season, Williams assumed the job for the rest of the schedule, and with him at the helm, the Browns went a respectable 5-3.
Williams Has Been There And Done That
Williams, a native of Missouri, eventually got promoted to the role of linebackers coach for the Oilers in 1994.
By the time the team moved to Tennessee in 1997, he had become its defensive coordinator.
At the time, the Oilers, who were renamed the Titans, were a mediocre defensive team that ranked 22nd in overall yards allowed and 27th in passing yards allowed in ’97.
But the Titans were building a winner around quarterback Steve McNair and star running back Eddie George, and with Williams improving their defense, they reached Super Bowl XXXIV, where they just barely lost to the St. Louis Rams.
After three seasons as the head coach of the mediocre Buffalo Bills in the early 2000s, he had stints as the defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Williams got the Saints to become one of the NFL’s best at forcing turnovers, and it was enough to earn them the world championship over Peyton Manning‘s Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.
Williams’ Checkered Past
The Saints didn’t do too well the following two seasons, and soon it became clear that something rotten was going on in New Orleans.
Williams was implicated as the main figure in the “Bountygate” scandal, as he had paid his players bounties for injuring players on opposing teams.
People first became suspicious after a vicious hit on Brett Favre during a 2009 playoff game between the Saints and Minnesota Vikings.
For his role, Williams was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, but luckily he was reinstated less than a calendar year later.
He made his way to the Browns prior to the 2017 season, and after he helped salvage something during his time as interim head coach, there was a groundswell of support for him to become their permanent head coach.
Instead, they went with Freddie Kitchens, who lasted just one season and was perceived by Browns fans as a failure.
Perhaps Williams’ checkered past and role in “Bountygate” will make him a nice fit for the XFL, even though the league is reportedly trying to distance itself from its original iteration from the early 2000s, which branded itself as an extreme, pro-wrestling-influenced version of football.