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Gregg Williams in contact with NFL about reinstatement steps

The process of potential reinstatement for St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams already is underway, league sources said Wednesday.

Williams, through his advisers, has been in contact with high-ranking NFL officials to discuss what steps are to be taken during his indefinite suspension to allow him to apply for reinstatement.

Williams was suspended for his role in the New Orleans Saints' "bounty" scandal, in which he offered payments to his defenders for cart-off or knock-out hits during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

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The league has worked with suspended parties in the past to prescribe a course of action for reinstatement -- not unlike what Michael Vick went through after his dogfighting case -- and there is consistent contact between the sides as part of it. In general, the suspended person is advised to keep a low profile until the stage where he is volunteering and beginning the public component of the process. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell traditionally has been very hands on, with direct conversations and private meetings with those involved during the extent of their suspension.

While there is a perception that Williams might be banished from the game for life, or for a long period of time, that in fact could end up not being the case. History of such cases under Goodell would speak to a process whereby, if followed closely, leads to reinstatement. Williams' case is different than many, in that the bounty allegations are more directly tied to the nature of the game itself, but Rams coach Jeff Fisher already has made public comments about his willingness to welcome the coordinator back to his staff if and when he is reinstated.

Williams is eligible for possible reinstatement the day after the Super Bowl -- less than a year away -- and, according to those who have been in contact with him, he has been using his time away from football to reflect upon and think critically about how to emerge from this as a better coach, and how to enact positive change from it.

Williams could be required to give speeches and perform outreach work related to player safety and sportsmanship as part of the reinstatement process, and he has been willing to comply in any way possible through the early stages of this process, according to league sources.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora.

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