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Jim Schwartz: Lions' Scott Linehan Didn't Tamper With Ricky Williams

Before the Detroit Lions signed Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell to replace Mikel Leshoure, they talked to Ricky Williams on Monday. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who once coached Williams in Miami, tried to convince him to sign with the Lions, but he ended up choosing the Baltimore Ravens instead.

After choosing the Ravens, Williams was interviewed on the radio and discussed the opportunity he had in Detroit. He also talked about how Linehan spoke to him after last year's Lions-Dolphins game, and his comments made it sound like the Lions could once again get in trouble for tampering.

For me, last year when we played the Lions, Scott Linehan, who was the offensive coordinator here with coach [Nick] Saban, he came up to me after the game, and he said that if you need a home, we'd love to have you on our team.

This seems like an innocent enough thing for a coach to tell one of his former players, but as the NFL showed when it found the Lions guilty of tampering with the Chiefs, it doesn't necessarily matter how innocent a comment is.

In any case, the Lions are making sure to get out in front of this situation before it can become an issue. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz called it "pretty ridiculous" for anybody to consider what was allegedly said by Linehan tampering, and Linehan himself said that his recollection of the exchange with Williams is different than what was said during the interview

None of this may matter to the NFL if they decide the interaction was in fact tampering, but the Lions are already doing their best to avoid another charge and loss of draft picks.