11-11-2007, 03:09 AM
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Re: NFL Player Loses Pay For Attending Funeral
Looks like the Vikes have had a change of heart:
Vikes' Change of Heart
Vikings coach Brad Childress will give grieving Troy Williamson his last game check
By DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Writer
November 10, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Grieving Troy Williamson will get his last paycheck after all.
Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress announced the change of heart Saturday after a weekly meeting with veteran players on his leadership committee.
The Vikings withheld Williamson's check after he missed the game against San Diego last week to remain in South Carolina following the death of his grandmother.
"I think the important thing is everybody grieves differently," Childress said. "That's the thing that I learned, or we learned, in this. In the end, it's not important to be right, but to get it right."
In addition, Williamson's older brother Carlton has been in and out of coma after a car accident in September.
Williamson thanked those who spoke up for him and offered support to his family during a trying time. He said he'll donate the returned check of more than $25,000 to charity in honor of his grandmother, Celestine.
"My wish is that the issue is over, and that I can now go about being a football player and putting this matter behind me," Williamson said in a statement issued by his agent, David Canter.
Childress said Williamson would play Sunday against Green Bay "in all likelihood."
Williamson, the seventh overall selection in the 2005 draft who has produced little for Minnesota in 2 1/2 seasons, chose to stay home the entire week and not return for the win against San Diego.
The Vikings wanted the wide receiver back sooner, though, and docked him one paycheck for his absence.
In explaining the decision earlier this week, Childress pointed to other players who returned a day or two after deaths in the family.
"I think the whole approach and intent, as with any organization, is to have guidelines so you have some continuity and don't do it haphazardly," he said.
Childress, who called reporters with the news, said he should have been more flexible and indicated owner Zygi Wilf suggested he revisit the issue.
With sagging ticket sales and an unfulfilled drive for a new stadium, the Vikings (3-5) have been more proactive about public relations. Over the last several seasons, they've drawn criticism for a number of actions that have come across as rigid or cold.
Most memorably, they cut Marcus Robinson last Christmas Eve after the wide receiver fell out of favor with Childress.
NFL coaches don't often admit mistakes, but Childress has done that more than once in his second year on the job. After rookie running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball only twice in the second half of a loss to the Packers, Childress acknowledged two weeks later -- after the team's bye -- that the coaches weren't keeping close enough track of Peterson's touches.
The team will have to shell out another extra check this week after releasing quarterback Koy Detmer before the trip to Green Bay.
This came four days after he was signed as insurance after head injuries to Tarvaris Jackson and Kelly Holcomb. Holcomb's neck apparently improved enough in recent days for Minnesota to make the move.
Jackson is still a game-time decision, Childress said, following last week's concussion that knocked him out of the game against San Diego. Brooks Bollinger, who played well in relief, is the favorite to start Sunday.
Cornerback Ronyell Whitaker, who plays primarily on special teams, was re-signed to the roster after being cut to make room for Detmer.