The St. Louis Rams are without a defensive coordinator after the NFL announced an indefinite suspension for Gregg Williams. A hefty punishment for Williams and the others was expected all along, except for maybe the Rams. Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the thinking behind the suspensions in an official statement released on Wednesday.
"We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game," Goodell said. "We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised."
The initial investigation revealed that Williams not only knew about the bounty program, he actively coordinated it. That factored prominently in Goodell's decision.
"A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious," Goodell said. "When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game."
Whether or not Williams' will coach again in the NFL remains to be seen.
As for the Rams, they inherit the collateral damage from Bounty Gate. Jason LaCanfora first reported on Wednesday that the team was not expecting a lengthy suspension for Williams, something more in the eight-game range.
Williams' suspension take effect immediately. It looks like Dave McGinnis or possibly even Chuck Cecil will be installing the defense in his place this spring.