A recording of then-New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urging players to deliver punishing hits on specific San Francisco...
NEW ORLEANS — A recording of then-New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urging players to deliver punishing hits on specific San Francisco players was released without approval from retired special-teams standout Steve Gleason, who had helped a documentary filmmaker gain behind-the-scenes access to the Saints.
“I feel deflated and disappointed. I feel frustrated and distracted,” the former Washington State standout said in a statement on his website.
Gleason has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and has allowed filmmaker Sean Pamphilon to capture his struggle with the incurable disease. He played for the Saints from 2000 to 2007 and maintains a strong relationship with the club, which has backed his efforts to improve the lives of those living with the debilitating symptoms of ALS.
Gleason’s connections to the team and to Pamphilon allowed the documentarian to be in the room with the Saints defense ahead of New Orleans’ 36-32 playoff loss to San Francisco in January.
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He said there was an agreement that he and his family would own the rights to any recordings made of his interaction with the Saints and that “nothing can be released without my explicit approval.”
“I did not authorize the public release of any recordings,” Gleason continued.
The recording, which Pamphilon posted on one of his promotional websites, purports to capture Williams telling players to “put a lick” on 49ers receiver Kyle Williams to see if he had lingering effects from a concussion.
Williams also tells his players to “beat (running back) Frank Gore’s head,” and “lay out” quarterback Alex Smith. He also reminds his players that receiver Michael Crabtree “becomes human when we … take out that outside ACL.”
The NFL’s report on the bounty program also found between 22 and 27 Saints defenders participated, but a couple of those who played in New Orleans during the period in question told the AP they take issue with how the system has been portrayed. The players spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I don’t feel like anything was ever literal,” one of the players said, referring to the way coaches like Williams and teammates spoke of brutalizing opponents.
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