Quarterback Alex Smith, one of the 49ers players singled out by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams before their divisional playoff game in January, said last month that his uncharacteristic woofing at Saints players at game's end had nothing to do with cheap shots or perceived bounties.
"No, no absolutely not," Smith said. "I think you have to go along with ... when a team's talking trash to you, you know. It was the last touchdown. I knew they couldn't do anything about it, and there were a lot of emotions on my chest, and I felt like getting them off."
Williams targeted several 49ers during a fiery, profanity-laced speech before the teams met, according to a recording from a documentary film maker that was revealed today by Yahoo! Sports. At one point, the report says, Williams made a hand signal -- rubbing his fingers togther -- that indicated he would pay money for a big hit on Smith.
Williams mentions specific body parts -- head, ankles, ACLs -- that he feels will test the resolve of the 49ers. He also mentions the opening preseason game against the 49ers when the Saints "avalanched" Smith and when, according to Williams, the quarterback's eyes turned big. The audio can be found here. Warning: Williams drops more than a couple f bombs.
Williams, who has been suspended by the league indefinitely, said he wanted running back Frank Gore's "head sideways" and said he wanted to test whether "little" receiver Kyle Williams had truly recovered from an earlier concussion. Kendall Hunter, Vernon Davis and "fake-ass prima donna" Michael Crabtree also were mentioned by Williams. The following week, the Giants also made mention of Kyle Williams' concussion history.
Whether Williams' tough talk resulted in illegal play is another question. Indeed, it was the Saints who were beaten up in the game. Running back Pierre Thomas suffered a concussion after a big -- but legal -- hit by safety Donte Whitner. Saints safety Roman Harper also was slow to get to his feet after colliding with Davis on the game-winning touchdown pass from Smith to Davis.
"As far as New Orleans goes -- the Saints -- I really don't have anything to say about that," Smith said. "It's not my job. It's really outside of what I want to be talking about. And I don't feel like I have a great perspective on it anyway, because as a quarterback you feel they're all out to get you. I don't really want to talk about that I guess."
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton and assistant Joe Vitt are meeting today with league officials in New York. The 49ers and Saints will meet again during the regular season.
-- Matt Barrows
See the hit by Donte Whitner