Since news broke last Friday about the Gregg Williams bounty program in New Orleans, the St. Louis Rams have been fairly quiet on the matter. Williams did send out a mea culpa via the Rams press office on Friday, but that was the extent of it. Rams COO Kevin Demoff broke radio silence today on KMOX, expressing disappointment over the matter and offering some insight into the team's thinking on the matter.
The mighty MOX does not have the audio on their 1990s website, but sports director Tom Ackerman Tweeted out some of the key tidbits from Demoff's interview.
Demoff said that the Rams were not aware of the investigation when they hired Williams. Just how much Jeff Fisher knew about his friend's systematic approach to player bounties is another question entirely, especially for a coach on the NFL competition committee.
Obviously, Demoff distanced the Rams from the bounty issue.
Demoff: "It's a situation that is disheartening to learn about, something the NFL doesn't stand for and certainly the Rams don't stand for."— Tom Ackerman (@Ackerman1120) March 5, 2012
The real question is what the team is thinking in regards to Williams' future there, with a hefty punishment likely coming from Goodell's office.
Demoff: "Until the league determines the punishment, there's not a lot we can do as a club. We'll be supportive of the league."— Tom Ackerman (@Ackerman1120) March 5, 2012
The Rams are in a tough spot on this all around, but, from their perspective, it probably is a little soon to dump him, especially since he is one of Jeff Fisher's life-long friends and the first call he made after taking the Rams' job. Besides, there is the outside possibility that the league goes easier on Williams and comes down harder on the Saints. Maybe.
The problem for the Rams is that this thing keeps getting closer and closer to Jeff Fisher. There may never be more than hearsay and anecdotal evidence that bounty programs happened on Fisher's team, which could keep him out of any official punishment. It will not stop the potential for an ongoing media sideshow. Forcing Williams to take one for the team could provide a sort of fire break between bounty scandals and the Rams' comfortable suburban enclave in Earth City.
Goodell is expected to start handing down verdicts soon.