Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been asked to consider a suggestion that suspended coach Gregg Williams have his reinstatement hearing conducted in December rather than February, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. This according to league sources. The NFL continues its assertion that Williams should participate in an upcoming bounty hearing.
Tagliabue is overseeing the upcoming hearings, expected to begin Nov. 30 in Washington, D.C., and the league is aiming to have Williams cooperate, though he has resisted their requests to testify and be cross-examined there.
Williams, who like former Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season, would prefer his reinstatement be decided next month, sources said; it is currently scheduled for February after the Super Bowl, but given how many coaching vacancies are expected and considering virtually all coordinator and assistant positions are filled well before then, Williams' opportunities would be significantly limited by that timetable.
To this point no formal request has been filed with the NFL for an early reinstatement, according to league spokesmen. And, given how unprecedented this situation is, it is unclear how much sway Tagliabue might have in regards to the parts of this process that pertain to this process. Payton has not asked for any reinstatement hearing -- to Tagliabue or to commissioner Roger Goodell -- but sources said it is not out of the question such a request could be made at some point.
Williams does not intend to participate in the upcoming hearing, sources said, though at some point the league could tie his participation to his ability to get reinstated, sources said. Again, this is a new process for all involved and the league has never suspended coaches in this manner before.