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Niners WR-PR Williams questions NFL sanctions

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Niners WR-PR Williams questions NFL sanctions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kyle Williams can't believe the New York Giants weren't punished by the NFL for targeting him in last year's NFC championship game.

The punt returner whose mistakes cost the 49ers a chance to make the last Super Bowl, and who will miss Sunday's game against Baltimore with an injured left knee, said Wednesday he is ``shocked'' that the Giants escaped discipline.

``The only thing crazy to me was that nothing came of it after they came down so much on the Saints,'' Williams said.

``The league announced the bounties and that (former Saints defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams said the same things the Giants were saying. They took it to the highest level they could with the Saints. But it seemed like the league decided it was no big deal what the Giants said.''

What Giants special teamers Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas said after New York's 20-17 overtime victory sounded similar to what the Saints were sanctioned for.

``The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing was to take him out of the game,'' said linebacker Jacquian Williams, who forced the 49ers returner's overtime fumble, which set up the winning field goal.

Thomas recovered both errors - the first was considered a muff when the ball glanced off Williams' right knee.

``He's had a lot of concussions,'' Thomas said. ``We were just like, `We've got to put a hit on that guy.'''

The NFL did not punish either player following that game, saying, ``There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way.''

And the Giants were not penalized once the Saints bounties were announced.

``Guys are trying to put guys out of the game every game, so it did not surprise me,'' Kyle Williams said. ``You know a guy has a history of injuries, you'll go after it. You might not say it, but you do it.''

But the Giants said it.

``Yeah,'' Williams said with a shrug. ``But it's all in the past now. And we're at the Super Bowl.''

The Giants declined to comment Wednesday.

Williams also was subjected to hateful, even threatening comments via social media after the 49ers lost the conference championship game. He talked with his father, Kenny, the executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox, and was comforted by his dad's advice.

``He told me that a strong man gets through this,'' Kyle Williams said. ``He said, `I have no doubt you will,' and that's the last time we talked about it.''

Williams felt guilty about last year's loss, but said teammates immediately came to his defense and supported him. He is getting the same vibes from them now as he watches while they play for the NFL title.

``We're like a family, and we comfort each other, help each other out,'' he said. ``The guys like myself and Mario (Manningham) and Kendall (Hunter), who are hurt and can't play, we're still a big part of our success.''

Coincidentally, Williams was injured trying to avoid Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma - one of the players initially suspended in the bounty case - in San Francisco's 31-21 win at the Superdome on Nov. 25. He re-entered the stadium for the first time Tuesday during Super Bowl media day, admitting it felt ``strange.''

He also said he has an empty feeling, but that would change with a win Sunday.

``Honestly it's been bittersweet because I'm not lacing them up, I'm not going to be able to be out there,'' Williams said. ``But I'm still there with them. I'm playing my role in a sense.

``I'm a semi-coach at this point, helping out the younger guys, whatever I can see on the sidelines. I've got the earpiece in ... I have a limited role right now, but it's my role. I've got to do it.''

The 49ers insist upon it. Their general manager, Trent Baalke, spoke with Kenny Williams about the importance of Kyle remaining involved in the 49ers' everyday routine.

Not that the father expected anything less of the son.

``He's been around athletics all his life and he knows there are different factors that go into ultimate team success,'' Kenny Williams said. ``That's one of the things that has been expressed to me from Trent directly is that Kyle's got some leadership abilities and he did not want him to go away like some guys do when they get hurt. He wanted his voice heard and he wanted him front and center with all the responsibilities. I'm glad to hear that he's following through on all that.''

Still, Kyle Williams would prefer to follow through on it with a big catch or long punt return.

``It ticks me off, because you want to suit up and help the team and you can't,'' he said.

---

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in New Orleans contributed to this story.

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Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip.

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Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip.

The Capitals return home to play the Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) after a successful road trip (3-1-0), but will still be without forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie (upper-body injuries), who remain day-to-day, according to coach Todd Reirden.   

Here are four things to watch:

Holtby’s back

After missing three games with an upper-body injury of his own, Caps goalie Braden Holtby was thrown into the fire down 4-2 at Montreal on Monday. But he played lights out and matched Habs goalie Carey Price save-for-save, finishing with 22 as Washington rallied for a 5-4 overtime win. Holtby now feels good enough as he will start against the Blackhawks tonight. In his past four appearances, Holtby has stopped 116 of 122 shots on goal.

New-look Blackhawks

Chicago’s slow start cost Joel Quenneville his job on Nov. 6. An NHL coach getting fired is rarely news. But when it’s a guy who’s been in his post for more than a decade and has won three Stanley Cups it is still jarring. The results are mixed since Jeremy Colliton took over. Chicago lost his first two games behind the bench, but is 2-0-2 in its past four games. That’s a small step in the right direction, but the Blackhawks are in sixth place in the Central Division.

Wilsonnnnn!!!!!

This was supposed to be the day Tom Wilson returned to the lineup after his 20-game suspension. An arbitrator cut that short last week so Wilson played on all four games of the road trip and had a goal and four assists. Not a bad start. Wednesday he gets his first home game of the year and what should be a raucous reception from the faithful at Capital One Arena. 

Old mates

On Monday, the crowd at Bell Centre booed former Canadien Lars Eller, who promptly took the puck up ice and scored the game-winning goal in overtime. It was a great moment for a player who felt Montreal gave up on him way too soon when trading him to the Capitals. Michal Kempny knows how he feels. 

Languishing on the bench for most of last season in Chicago as a healthy scratch – he played just 31 games - Kempny sees his old team for the first time since helping Washington win a Stanley Cup. Quenneville is gone, but the defenseman would love to show the rest of the organization trading him was a mistake. 

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5 things to know about new Wizards forward Okaro White

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5 things to know about new Wizards forward Okaro White

The Washington Wizards are set to add power forward, Okaro White to their NBA roster. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player.

1. White, 26, is a 6-foot-8, 205-pound power forward who played two seasons for the Miami Heat. In 41 total games, White averaged 2.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and shot 38.8 percent from the field. Though he never appeared in games with them, White also spent time with the Cavs, Hawks and Spurs. He also played Summer League for the Mavs and Grizzlies.

2. He has a decent outside shot for a big man. White has shot 35.6 percent from three in the NBA and made 37.5 percent from long range as a senior at Florida State. The fact he's an excellent free throw shooter is also a good sign. White made 79.9 percent from the line in college and has shot 86 percent in the G-League and 88 percent in the NBA.

3. White played with former Wizards first-round pick Chris Singleton in college. White was a freshman, while Singleton was a junior and the star of the team. White was also a starter on the 2011-12 team that won the Seminoles' first-ever ACC championship.

4. Though he's a bit undersized for a big man, White can block shots. He once had four in a game against the Nets on Jan. 25 of 2017 and three against the Sixers in March of that year. 

5. White's mom, Charmaine, was an Olympic athlete who represented Jamaica in track and field.

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