Williamson starts smack, Childress plays too

Former Vikings receiver Troy Williamson started a back-and-forth session of he said-he said Wednesday between himself and Vikings coach Brad Childress. The bad feelings started last year when the Vikings docked Williamson a week's pay for missing a game to tend to funeral arrangement for his grandmother, a decision the team eventually reversed.

Game on, at least off the field.

For a coach that is normally careful with his words and a player who arrived on the NFL scene as relatively shy, the whole Brad Childress-Troy Williamson war of words is providing some midweek entertainment. Too bad Williamson isn't expected to play on Sunday because of a groin injury.

The whole Williamson controversy really cranked up last year in Minnesota. The Vikings sent the speedy receiver to the Nike vision center in Oregon in hopes that drills assigned to him there would cure the oft-witnessed dropped passes that were plaguing Williamson's career to that point. The receiver played along, but eye tests and countless offseason drills didn't render a lasting improvement with him.

Williamson finished 2007 with 18 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown.

The real controversy came during the middle of his final season in Minnesota. When Williamson missed the Chargers game on Nov. 4 to tend to funeral arrangements for his grandmother, who played a big hand in raising him, the Vikings initially docked Williamson a week's pay.

"I'd throw this football thing away for my family," Williamson said at the time. "I know it's a business and I know they (the Viking) have got other obligations when it comes to them and their family also. I know how I felt towards mine. I felt like I wouldn't have been overdoing it if I had stayed home a little longer, but you've got other people and their options."

After consulting with his players committee, Childress decided to give Williamson his pay, but the hard feelings Williamson had about the incident didn't recede.

"After that, I had no more respect for Childress," Williamson said. "That is gone out the window and I don't see that coming back ever. So that bridge is burned."

The receiver said Wednesday in Jacksonville that he would like to "duke it out" with Childress when the Vikings visit Jacksonville Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

"We can meet on the 50-yard line and we can go at it," he said.

"He doesn't know there's a buffer zone," Childress told Minnesota reporters. "I've got other things to worry about. I don't need any fines."

Childress was asked about Williamson's comments in a conference call with Jacksonville reporters and initially said, "I'm not going to bite on that one" and then, "We thought a change of scenery would be good for both of us."

A reporter then asked Childress to humor them and give his height and weight, as if he were preparing for a fight.

"Do you need my reach? I'm not like a woman; I'll give you my weight," Childress said. "It's 190 pounds of twisted steel and rompin', stompin' dynamite. Is that enough humor for you?"

Childress is about 5-foot-8 and said 190 pounds is above his "playing weight" and that he's not "wintering so well." Williamson is listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds.

Williamson even told Jacksonville reporters he would fight with both hands tied behind his back.

Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio may have put a damper on the situation, however, when he said it was "unlikely" that Williamson would play because of a groin injury. Jacksonville acquired Williamson from the Vikings this offseason and gave up a sixth-round draft choice to get him. Childress said Wednesday he wasn't surprised Williamson fetched a draft pick.

Childress said it didn't work out for Williamson in Minnesota "just based on what I saw, productivity at the position."

Del Rio, a former Vikings linebacker, said the trade had "minimal risk" because of Williamson's speed. Although he only has four catches for 27 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass, this year, the Jaguars have also used him on special teams.

"We like the way he's working and we think he'll continue to improve," Del Rio said.

After all the barbs back and forth on Wednesday, Childress said: "I know my heart was in the right spot all along with Troy Williamson."

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