D.J. Williams Guilty Verdict Further Hurts Team, Jeopardizes Future with Broncos

Jason MuckleySenior Analyst IIAugust 16, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 4: D.J. Williams #55 of the Denver Broncos looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 4, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Losing D.J. Williams for multiple games this season has been a waiting game consisting of denial, frustration, fact-finding and finally acceptance. For Broncos fans, don't get your hopes up of having Williams back anytime soon.

First fans were hopeful that the PED issue would be in the appeals process for an extended period like the Star Caps scandal for Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings that spanned almost three seasons after an initial sentence was handed out in 2008. The result was a two-game suspension for Pat Williams, even after all of the appeals and proceedings.

D.J. Williams' appeals process didn't come anywhere close to the almost favorable outcome that the Vikings' Williams received. After fighting the suspension and losing, more information came out regarding Williams and his non-human sample. That is, Williams was using a fake sample to cover up his PED use.

His vehement denial of the charges and his adamant desire to not just have his sentence reduced but completely dropped only earned him a full-term suspension. His appeals were denied and he looks out of options for delaying the suspension past the start of the 2012 season.

The next twist in the story is his recent conviction of a DWAI (driving while ability impaired)—a reduced-impairment, under-the-influence-of-alcohol charge that is a second offense that could cost him at minimum a two-game suspension and possibly up to four games (from the Denver Post). It seems more likely to receive the four-game ban since he has already had a DWAI before this one, and has been completely defiant while facing league discipline in the earlier matter this offseason.

My gut tells me that he won't see the field this season before the Week 11 matchup at Sports Authority Field at Mile High against the San Diego Chargers. Missing that much time, it seems like it would take almost the entire rest of the season to get into football shape and to get re-acclimated to the speed of the game after missing over two months of playing time.

This offseason, though not yet serving his suspension, he has seen limited playing time on the field as the Broncos prepare for life without him for most of 2012.

From a fan's perspective, these moves by Williams really cost the team. In a season where the Broncos have maybe the hardest schedule in football and a one-in-a-lifetime chance to play with one of the best quarterback who have ever played the game, Williams has hurt the Broncos by creating a giant question mark concerning a key piece on defense at the weak-side linebacker spot.

If he had admitted his mistake using PEDs and pleaded for leniency, he may have gotten just a three- or four-game suspension. Instead, it remains at six games and he can't expect leniency with the guilty verdict in his DUI case, which could cost him up to another four games.

His serious lapse of judgement to drive impaired under the influence of alcohol in 2010 shows something about the type of character issues he has, and the Broncos might be better off without him altogether.

If things go south this season and he becomes more of a liability, parting ways with him may not be a bad idea. But if the Broncos remain in the thick of it late in the season, they may have no choice but to stick with him and hope he doesn't make anymore bonehead moves.

As the head of player personnel, Executive VP John Elway has the final word on all personnel matters. In his two offseasons in the front office he has made a concerted effort to find talented players with character who are role models for the Denver community. He has brought in world-class people that haven't brought with them "baggage" from a certain kind of lifestyle that seems rampant among NFL players.

As a veteran, team leader and long-tenured Bronco, the organization rightfully expects more out of Williams. Unfortunately, he has proven to be a disappointment in that regard.

It may be time to accept the inevitable; it is time to move on.