Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Jags' Williamson on Vikes coach Childress: 'We can go at it'
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former first-round draft pick Troy Williamson never really got along with coach Brad Childress in Minnesota.
His feelings haven't changed since leaving there, either.
Williamson, now in Jacksonville, said Wednesday he lost respect for his former coach last year and would like to "duke it out" with him when the Jaguars host the Vikings on Sunday.
"We can meet on the 50-yard line and we can go at it," Williamson said.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver said he liked his chances against Childress, too, especially with a few inches and at least 10 pounds on the coach. Williamson even said he would fight with both hands tied behind his back.
Childress countered by saying, "He must not be aware there's a buffer zone between the opponents."
Childress initially said he wasn't "biting" on Williamson's comments, but when pressed about his height and weight on a conference call, he responded: "Do you need my reach? I'm not like a woman; I'll give you my weight. It's 190 pounds of twisted steel and rompin', stompin' dynamite. Is that enough humor for you?"
Now back to the fight. Williamson didn't say whether he wanted a boxing match, a WWE-style showdown or maybe something edgier, like a mixed martial arts cage match.
Either way, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen knows who he would bet on if there was a River City Rumble.
"Coach Childress is a tough-minded guy," Allen said. "And he has a bad ... mustache."
Williamson was the seventh overall pick in 2005, chosen as the heir apparent to Randy Moss after the Vikings traded Moss to Oakland a month before the draft. But Williamson struggled from the start. He had 79 receptions for 1,067 yards and three touchdowns in three disappointing, drop-filled seasons.
He hoped to turn things around last season. He visited a vision specialist and caught an estimated 20,000 balls in the offseason.
Although the Vikings were pleased with his work ethic, it never paid off. Williamson finished with 18 receptions for 240 yards and had more glaring gaffes. The most notable came in the season finale against Denver when he misjudged what would have been a 72-yard score and dropped the ball without a defender in sight.
That wasn't even the worst part of the season, either.
Childress withheld a game check from Williamson when he missed a week in early November to remain in South Carolina following the death of his grandmother. Williamson's older brother, Carlton, also had been in and out of a coma after a car accident in September; he's better now, talking but still in a wheelchair, and probably won't walk again.
Childress rescinded the fine after meeting with the team's leadership committee, but as far as Williamson was concerned, the damage was done.
"After that, I had no more respect for Childress," Williamson said. "That's gone out the window, and I don't see that coming back ever. That bridge is burned. ... It just got bad. I knew it was time for me to go. It was just a bunch of personal stuff on my end that he wouldn't let me handle.
"I ain't going to try to dig it back up because I can really, really go at coach Childress, but I'm not going to do it."
At least not until Sunday.
Williamson admitted he circled this game when the schedule came out, knowing it would be a chance to show the Vikings they made a mistake by trading him for a sixth-round draft pick in March. But the former South Carolina star already has been ruled out because of a lingering groin issue -- a preseason injury that has limited him to four catches for 27 yards in five games.
Nonetheless, Williamson will be on the sideline Sunday, visiting with former teammates and guys he became close friends with during his three years in Minnesota. There's no chance, though, of him hugging it out with Childress.
"You ain't going to see that, no," he said.
After that, I had no more respect for Childress. That's gone out the window, and I don't see that coming back ever. That bridge is burned.
-- Troy Williamson