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49ers' Baalke: 'I don't feel any differently' about Gregg Williams

  • By Wire Reports
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San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke is taking the high road when it comes to former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' now-infamous speech before January's NFC divisional-round playoff battle.

Baalke, who worked for the Washington Redskins in 2004 when Williams was their defensive coordinator and he was a national scout, said Wednesday that he has spoken to Williams since the audio of the speech was made public -- albeit in controversial fashion.

"I know Gregg," Baalke said, via Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "I worked with Gregg. And I think Gregg is a heck of a football coach. I have already reached out to Gregg, and anything I have to say will stay strictly between Gregg and I."

Williams urged Saints defenders to go after the 49ers during the speech, and in particular, inflict harm on several players, including quarterback Alex Smith, running back Frank Gore, and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams.

If Baalke was affected by the audio, he didn't show it Wednesday.

"I don't feel any differently about him today than I did 20 days ago," Baalke said. "I've worked with Gregg. Gregg's a friend and he's been a friend. It was only fitting that you reach out and speak with him, and I felt very good about the conversation."

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Niners cornerback Carlos Rogers, who played for Williams in Washington, is pulling for his former coach to recover both personally and professionally. They spoke when the news initially broke about the bounties.

"That's one of my closest friends, coaches. We're still close," Rogers said. "I know he regrets it. I hope he gets a second chance."

"I have no untoward feelings about the game. It was a great football game. Both teams played extremely well and we got the better of it. I have great memories of that football game," said coach Jim Harbaugh, who insists he doesn't have enough information on the bounties to speak specifically.

"I mean, it would be like trying to comment on the clean water crisis that our world is facing," he said. "I don't have all the facts on that, you know? Who's going to be the best political candidate for president? I don't know. I mean, I'm immersed in football. So I don't think there's any need to be another guy jumping on the bandwagon having an opinion on it. The NFL is handling it, and that's good enough for me."

In other 49ers news, wide receiver Randy Moss wasn't one of the 60 players in attendance for the start of the team's voluntary offseason workouts. However, according to the Chronicle, Baalke knew Moss would miss some time when the team signed him, and he said the receiver would report well before minicamp begins May 21.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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