In August, longtime Denver Broncos’ starting linebacker D.J. Williams was taking snaps with the third string defense, and he didn’t step onto the field for a single play in preseason.
That’s because John Fox and crew were trying to get their defense ready for the first nine weeks of the season without Williams who would be serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and then a three-game suspension for being convicted of driving while ability impaired. The Broncos wanted to give the backups reps and extra conditioning so that the defense would be just as strong without Williams, who has led the Broncos in tackling for the past three seasons.
Williams made his return to action Sunday when the Broncos hosted the San Diego Chargers.
“I thought he had a great week of preparation,” head coach John Fox said. “The guy obviously worked diligently while he was away from us. We were very happy to have him back. He made a mistake, paid his dues.”
Williams came in on the fourth play of the game, and tallied four tackles including one for a loss in the Broncos’ win.
“I’ve been playing football like 17 years of my life so it’s basically all I know,” Williams said. “It feels great to be in the locker room, the camaraderie with the guys, just go out there, go to battle, and come home with a victory.”
Along with Champ Bailey, Williams is one of the longest tenured Broncos on the roster.
“You really don’t know what to expect when you get your first game back, but I’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Bailey said. “He was pumped up, ready to go. It’s like he never left us.”