|Instead of carrying a game plan, Williams is carrying a backpack ... across Thailand. (Getty Images)|
Gregg Williams, suspended from the NFL this season for his role in the Saints' Bountygate scandal, has been using his time away from the league as a mission of personal growth and discovery, friends say. And that journey will take him to the remote villages of rural Northern Thailand for a backpacking sojourn this week, as he departs Wednesday morning.
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Williams remains in close contact with the NFL office and had dialogue with Commissioner Roger Goodell and is intent on doing what he can to get reinstated by the league and return next season as the Rams' defensive coordinator.
The league is currently engaged in legal battles over its Bountygate player suspensions. If those sanctions were shortened by the court, the ruling conceivably could impacting the coaching bans as well. Williams did not appeal his supension, but Saints head coach Sean Payton did.
Williams has kept a very low profile during his exodus, abiding by the league's stringent punishment, quietly working with various high school and college programs, going around the country to lend a hand. Having spent his entire adult life coaching, friends say Williams is also seeking to alter his world view and gain perspective, hence spending time with four tribes in Thailand's "Golden Triangle," an area with a deep history in the opium trade.
The trip will take him to Burma and Laos, and he will be traveling only with a backpack and spartan supplies. When he returns home, friends say, Williams will then head out for a military bootcamp experience, sort of like his own "training camp experience." He has talked to and worked with eight schools in the past two weeks and is trying to stay busy with this being the first time he won't be actively involved with football in the fall.
Williams also expects to make a trip to Africa in the coming weeks, beginning in South Africa and moving north, again, expanding his borders and taking in sights, people and a locale he would not otherwise experience.