NFL Notebook

49ers’ Williams is dealing with threats

The 49ers’ Kyle Williams is down after fumbling in overtime of the NFC Championship game, which helped the Giants win. The 49ers’ Kyle Williams is down after fumbling in overtime of the NFC Championship game, which helped the Giants win. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 24, 2012
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Kyle Williams is ignoring the barrage of hateful, hurtful, even threatening comments he has received via social media in the aftermath of his ill-timed fumble that cost the San Francisco 49ers the NFC Championship game against New York.

Williams said yesterday he takes responsibility for his fumble on a punt return in overtime of a 20-17 loss to the Giants Sunday night that set up Lawrence Tynes’s winning field goal, calling the moment “painful.’’

“I really didn’t pay attention to Twitter. All the feedback I needed was family and friends, the guys in the locker room,’’ Williams said.

Instantly, Williams was made a villain on the Internet.

He insisted it’s part of his job to face the criticism in the aftermath of his mistakes and not hide out in a difficult time. Perhaps that will go a little way in calming down the angry fans, some of whom wished harm on Williams and his family.

“It’s one of those things you have to take accountability for,’’ Williams said. “Everybody is responsible for what they do on the field. It’s something that I was responsible for and I made a mistake and it’s time to own up to it and move forward.’’

Kicker David Akers took to Twitter yesterday asking people to stop with the harsh remarks directed toward his teammate, saying “ppl need to get a grip! Leave Kyle alone!’’ He also reminded everybody the NFC West-champion 49ers (14-4) win and lose together, so there would be no finger-pointing in the locker room.

“I’m irritated with the way people are treating him, absolutely,’’ Akers said. “I think it’s ridiculous. You know, get a grip on what life’s about. He went out and he put his soul out there. That’s what he does. He was not trying to do anything other than make an incredible play for this team. He had a great kickoff return. Mistakes happen. We all make mistakes. But when you’re out there truly battling to do the best you can, my hat goes off to him, to anybody that does that.’’

Williams has spoken to his father, Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams, who told ESPN that his son received death threats. The elder Williams also said his son might have separated his shoulder in the third quarter, but he added that he did not blame his son’s miscues on the injury.

This really rated

The Giants’ victory was the third-most watched conference championship game in 30 years. The game, broadcast on Fox, had a 30.6 fast national rating and 44 share, Nielsen Media Research said. The rating was up 9 percent from the 28.1/50 for Green Bay’s 21-14 win over Chicago in the early conference championship last year on Fox and an increase of 8 percent from the 28.3/43 for Pittsburgh’s 24-19 victory over the Jets on CBS. The game drew 57.6 million viewers, according to Fox, trailing only San Francisco’s win over Dallas Jan. 10, 1982 (68.7 million), and New Orleans’ OT victory over Minnesota Jan. 24, 2010 (57.9 million). The Patriots’ 23-20 win over Baltimore in the AFC title game drew a 27.4/48 fast national, the highest rating for an early AFC Championship since San Diego’s 17-13 win over Pittsburgh drew a 28.3/58 on NBC in January 1995. The Patriots’ win drew 48.7 million viewers . . . San Francisco police said they arrested 29 people during the game at Candlestick Park - and tossed out another 110 people for unruly behavior. That was nearly double the number of people booted from the stadium during the Jan. 14 game between the 49ers and the Saints. Visiting fans during that game had complained of harassment and threats by Niners fans, and police adopted a zero-tolerance policy.

Kelly says no to Bucs

University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly announced that he’s remaining with the Ducks, though he said he was flattered by the interest shown in him by the NFL’s Buccaneers.

“I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and general manager Mark Dominik, but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon,’’ Kelly said in a statement released through the school.

The Bucs are searching for a new head coach after firing Raheem Morris after finishing last in the NFC South.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said the school granted Tampa Bay permission to talk to Kelly.

A university spokesman said Kelly was on a recruiting trip and was unavailable for comment.

As expected, Morris officially was hired yesterday by the Redskins as a defensive backs coach. Washington also named Ike Hilliard receivers coach and said Bob Slowik will move to linebackers coach after working with the secondary for the last two seasons.

Fisher fills staff

New Rams coach Jeff Fisher formally announced that Brian Schottenheimer has been named the team’s offensive coordinator and that Gregg Williams will run the defense.

Schottenheimer spent the past six seasons with the Jets, where he helped the team make consecutive trips to the AFC Championship game. He was also a quarterbacks coach with the Chargers, and he will be charged with getting the most out of Sam Bradford in St. Louis.

“I am really excited to have Brian join our staff,’’ Fisher said. “He is a well-respected coach in this league who has had success for many years at a high level as an offensive coordinator. We share the same philosophies on the offensive side of the ball and I think he is a tremendous addition to our staff.’’

Williams is a 22-year NFL coaching veteran who spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator for the Saints. A former head coach in Buffalo, he also spent six years coaching under Fisher with the Titans.

Titans grab Millard

Titans coach Mike Munchak has hired Keith Millard as an assistant in charge of helping the team’s defense rush the quarterback better. Millard, the Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 with the Vikings, played eight seasons in the NFL and has coached the past nine. He was co-defensive line coach with Tampa Bay in 2011 . . . The Bears said offensive coordinator Mike Tice no longer will interview for the Raiders’ vacant head coaching job . . . Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was added to the NFC Pro Bowl squad in place of New York’s Eli Manning, who had to withdraw from the game because his team is in the Super Bowl. Newton completed 310 of 517 passes for 4,051 yards, the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Newton’s 14 rushing touchdowns were the most ever by an NFL QB in a season. Also, Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was added to the Pro Bowl roster, replacing Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants. It will be Peppers’s seventh appearance in the game. He had 27 tackles, 11 sacks, 5 tackles for losses, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries this season.

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