INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams are longtime friends.
Or perhaps they were longtime friends.
Fisher, the coach of the St. Louis Rams, said at the combine that he has not spoken to Williams since the NFL reinstated him. The former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, Williams recently completed a yearlong suspension for his role in the Saints' pay-for-injury program, as judged by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Williams is now senior assistant/defense with the Tennessee Titans, for whom he previously worked, with Fisher as the head coach.
Fisher fired Blake Williams, Gregg’s son, after the season; Blake had been the Rams' linebackers coach. Fisher made it clear he had moved on from Gregg Williams, the man he brought to St. Louis in 2012 to be his defensive coordinator.
On Friday, Fisher said that decision didn’t come after the season, but during it.
“I made that decision well before the season ended, that we wanted to go a different direction,” Fisher said. “It probably wouldn’t have been as easy had we not had the assistants that we did on the staff. But when you’re talking about Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil, then coach [Mike] Waufle, you’ve got guys who have coordinated. I’m very fortunate to have gotten Frank Bush, who has also coordinated.
“We just felt like we wanted this to be the Ram defense, so we’re moving a little different direction than from what Gregg’s philosophies are.”
That’s a tidy answer. But if all that defensive coordinator experience helped make Williams expendable, it seems a bit odd none of those coaches were named defensive coordinator. Instead, Fisher recently hired Tim Walton as his new coordinator. Walton previously coached defensive backs for Detroit under another former Fisher assistant, Jim Schwartz.
Fisher expressed no ill will toward Williams. And I wouldn't expect him to publicly.
“I’m very happy that it worked out the way it did,” Fisher said. “I believe Gregg can help the Titans and help coach [Mike] Munchak and, of course, Jerry Gray. The other side of that is that they can help him to re-establish himself back in the league.”
We have no idea how Williams feels about Fisher at this point, either.
But when the Titans introduced Williams, he trumpeted how important it was for him to work with people he knows, like Munchak and Gray.
Well, he knows Fisher, too.