Gregg Williams wanted 49ers hurtUpdated: April 5, 2012, 12:55 PM ET
ESPN.com news services Damning Gregg Williams Audio Emerges
On the day that members of the Saints' brass will have their appeals heard for their roles in New Orleans' bounty system, damning audio has been released of Gregg Williams, the man who orchestrated the program, instructing his players to injure San Francisco 49ers players in their wild-card playoff game last season.
Williams, the Saints' former defensive coordinator, did not appeal his indefinite suspension by the NFL. As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who directed the ESPN 30 for 30 film "Run Ricky Run," has released an audio recording that he says is a speech Williams gave to Saints defensive players the night before the team lost to the 49ers in a playoff game in January.
Some of Gregg Williams' speech can be interpreted as typical rhetoric from an NFL defensive coach but much of it is indefensible, Pat Yasinskas writes. Blog
The sample audio recording is a little less than four minutes long. The full speech was 12 minutes, according to Pamphilon.
Pamphilon was following the Saints last season while working on a documentary featuring former Saints special teams player Steve Gleason, who is currently battling Lou Gehrig's disease.
Williams can be heard in the audio recording instructing his defensive players to injure quarterback Alex Smith, running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis and receivers Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams.
According to Pamphilon, Gregg Williams pointed to his chin while telling his players to hit Smith "right there" and says, "Remember me. I got the first one. I got the first one. Go get it. Go lay that m----------- out."
Williams uses one of his favorite slogans in the speech -- "Kill the head and the body will die."
On Gore: "We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."
On running back Kendall Hunter: "Little 32, we're going to knock the f--- out of him."
On Smith: "Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head."
“We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.” -- Gregg Williams, on Frank Gore in speech to Saints players before playoff game
On Kyle Williams: "We need to find out in the first two series of the game, that little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion. We need to f------ put a lick on him right now. He needs to decide. He needs to f------ decide."
On Crabtree: "We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake-ass prima donna, or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find out. He becomes human when we f------ take out that outside ACL."
On Davis: "We need to decide how many times we can bull rush and and we can f------ put Vernon Davis' ankles over the pile."
When asked by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter for comment on Williams' speech to his players, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello would not comment other than to reiterate that the Saints had been warned, saying "note for background these graphs from our March 21 press release announcing the discipline for Saints management."
The NFL had warned the Saints before the playoffs that it had re-opened its investigation into the team's bounty program and the incentive program needed to cease, but the warning apparently was ignored.
Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, in a post on his Twitter page, blasted Pamphilon for making the audio public.
His tweet: "Sean pamphilon is a coward and should be ashamed for taking advantage of Steve Gleason! How much did u get paid for that audio?"
Pamphilon told Yahoo! Sports that he decided to release the audio because Williams' words, especially about Kyle Williams' concussion history, made him uncomfortable. The film project he is currently working on, "The United States of Football", he told Yahoo!, "looks at the media's effect upon the way the game is played and celebrated, the proper coaching mentality and the effect of concussions and repetitive head trauma."
"The thing that really got me was when he said the thing about No. 10 and concussions. I thought, 'Did he just say that?' That was the red flag for me. And then the comments by the Giants made it hit home even harder."
Giants players had said after their win over San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game that they had targeted Kyle Williams as someone who might fumble on big hits because of his history of concussions.
The Saints' defense certainly was in attack mode against the 49ers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Saints sent five or more pass rushers in 30 of Smith's 46 dropbacks (65.2 percent). It was second-most times the Saints used such pressure last season and their third-highest rate of percentage of rushers.
Despite Gregg Williams' tough talk, the 49ers defeated the Saints in a 36-32 shootout in what turned out to be his last game as New Orleans' defensive coordinator. He left the team to become the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator before the NFL's penalties were announced.
At the time of the league's ruling, Williams apologized and said he took full responsibility for his actions.
Payton (suspended for one year), Loomis (eight games) and assistant head coach Joe Vitt (six games) were scheduled to have their appeals heard Thursday morning. Loomis and Vitt were at the league offices in New York, with coach Payton to arrive later in the day.
The Saints also were fined $500,000 and forced to forfeit second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts. Discipline for some of the Saints players involved is forthcoming. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and league security met with NFL Players Association officials Monday to discuss the investigation and possible penalties for others.