Former Buffalo Bills lineman doesn't know this Gregg Williams
Chidi Ahanotu doesn’t know the Gregg Williams he heard in an audio tape last week urging New Orleans Saints defenders to go for head shots on players with a history of concussions and to target ACL’s.
Ahanotu played for the Buffalo Bills in 2002 when Gregg Williams was head coach and he didn’t recall anything like that when he played under the man.
“He was the softest coach I’ve been around," Ahanotu told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was to the point, really, where I said, ‘Man, this guy’s really not made out to be a coach.’ Honestly, that’s what I always felt in Buffalo -- this is not football. His approach was very cerebral.”
There have been reports of a bounty system in Buffalo but no hard evidence is surfaced, and Ahanotu certainly didn’t have anything to corroborate that. Players have spoken specifically about a bounty system when Williams was in Washington, including National Football Post columnist Matt Bowen, who played for the Redskins under Williams.
“He was very cerebral, almost to a fault," Ahanotu said. "He always talked about these complex things. It was like, ‘Man, can we just line up and play football.’ That’s how I always felt with him. I was only there for one year with him and coaches always develop and change. Maybe this is what he changed to."
Nothing Williams said really offended Ahanotu until he started referencing ACL’s. That’s when he went from motivating his players to a dark place he shouldn’t be.
“I played D-line and we tried to knock the quarterback out," Ahanotu said." We tried to knock him out. We wanted to knock him out of the game. This was before all of the concussion awareness and that. But regardless whether you knock him out with a concussion, you want to hurt the guy. We weren’t trying to maim people out there but we wanted to get them out of the game.
"Even in this day in age -- as a defensive lineman -- you’re trying to get him out of the game. (But) when he starts talking about ACLs and concussions, especially in this age, I understand. The commissioner is totally validated for what he did.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune