ST. LOUIS (AP) — Gregg Williams is returning to the Rams as defensive coordinator, the first time he will lead a defense since he lost his job in New Orleans amid the fallout from the team's bounty scandal.
The Rams announced the hiring Wednesday and a news conference introducing Williams was scheduled for Thursday. He will replace Tim Walton, who was fired in January after just one season.
Williams has led five top-five defenses. He was defensive coordinator for the Saints when he was suspended for the entire 2012 season for the scandal. He was reinstated by the NFL in February 2013 and served as a defensive assistant for the Titans last season.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher originally hired Williams in January 2012, but dropped him after the scandal broke.
"I am excited about coaching this defense," Williams said in a statement released by the Rams. "I would like to thank Jeff Fisher and the Rams organization for this opportunity and I am looking forward to getting to work and helping our defense become one of the best in football."
St. Louis ranked 15th in total defense and 13th in scoring defense in 2013.
Williams and Fisher go back many years. Williams was on Fisher's staff for six seasons, first with the Houston Oilers, then with the Titans when the team moved to Tennessee. He spent four of those seasons as defensive coordinator.
"As I've stated before, I believe Gregg is an outstanding football coach and is capable of taking our defense to the next level," Fisher said.
Williams, 55, is a Missouri native who played both baseball and football at Northeast Missouri State, now known as Truman State. He was defensive coordinator of the Titans from 1997 to 2000, before serving as Buffalo's head coach in 2001 to 2003, going 17-26 in that span.
He then served as defensive coordinator for the Redskins from 2004 to 2007, the Jaguars in 2008, and the Saints from 2009 to 2011, developing the defense that helped the Saints beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl.