Here’s a very interesting piece from Yahoo’s Doug Farrar this morning, in the wake of Gregg Williams’ audio tape that leaked this morning. At the time, I happened to be in Mobile, AL, covering the Senior Bowl, so this story somehow escaped my antennae at the time. But apparently, LB Jacquian Williams and WR Devin Thomas knew all about Kyle Williams’ history of concussions, and were specifically targeting him:
After the New York Giants beat the 49ers 20-17 in overtime of the NFC Championship game, Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams specifically explained that his team was targeting Kyle Williams. It was a strategy that apparently worked — Williams fumbled two punt returns on the day — but there really isn’t much difference between Gregg Williams’ stated intent and what Jacquian Williams recalled:
“The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him out of the game.”
Receiver Devin Thomas, who recovered both of Williams’ fumbles, said that “he’s had a lot of concussions. We were just like, ‘We’ve got to put a hit on that guy.'” Thomas then said that safety Tyler Sash “did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.”
When asked about the Giants’ statements, league spokesman Greg Aiello said that whatever happened on the field in the NFC Championship game wasn’t a big deal. “Players are held accountable for their actions on the field,” Aiello stated via e-mail. “There were no illegal hits to the head or neck area against Kyle Williams on Sunday. There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way.”
Except for their specific words after the game, that is.
Maybe Devin Thomas and Jacquian Williams did their own research on the injury histories of each the key players on the Niners’ offense, but methinks that’s probably not the case. How did they get that info? I want to be careful not to make any unfair suggestions (cough cough, the coaching staff alerted them to it, cough), but it’s very fishy.