Good Morning, Broncos fans! The tumultuous, torturous offseason for D.J. Williams is finally nearing an end, although the linebacker is taking another hit in the bank account to get there.
According to Mike Klis, the man named Genos will be officially back with the Broncos tomorrow under a renegotiated (trimmed) contract, the details of which have not been released.
It's been a dramatic eight months for the ninth-year player, starting with news in March that he'd been suspended six games for providing a non-human urine sample after allegedly fumbling the bottle it had come from. D.J. attempted to fight that suspension by suing the NFL in federal court, but that suit was dismissed in June.
In the interim, a mistrial was declared in the first trial for his 2010 DUI case, and then he tweeted out a page from the Broncos' defensive playbook, albeit not one featuring any truly sensitive material. Still, it was another judgment error in a Denver career littered with them.
With D.J. facing the looming prospect of a six-game suspension and perhaps more for his DUI case, the coaching staff turned the former first-rounder into a training camp bystander, instead giving Denver's young and unproven linebackers time to learn and show their stuff.
Expectedly, Mr. Dyme Life ended up being found guilty of DWAI, and that legal result led to an additional suspension of three games and a sentence of thirty days' house arrest he will serve post-Super Bowl.
It's been just as eventful a period for the rest of Denver's linebackers, although more in a football sense. Both Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard were re-signed in March to what seemed at the time fairly expensive contracts (three years, $12M for Mays, two years, $3.5M for Woodyard); Danny Trevathan was drafted, Steven Johnson made the team as an undrafted rookie, and Keith Brooking was added to the picture in August.
Once the season began, it didn't take long for Mays to prove he wasn't really worth the $4.5M in guarantees Denver had given him instead of letting him fly to New Orleans along with fellow 2011 revelation Brodrick Bunkley. His poor reads and a continuation of the missed tackles from last year prompted a call from our good Doc Bear to bench the ex-Eagles special-teams ace in favor of Brooking, and outright derision from us.
These linebacker struggles began to make D.J. Williams's eventual return a seemingly welcome and desperately needed one. Yet, just as some of us began to romanticize the idea of Genos solidifying a thin group - perhaps at the Mike spot he had played in 2007 - Brooking became a steadying influence, Woodyard went into beast mode, and even Trevathan started to get involved, playing 58 defensive snaps over the past two weeks.
Suddenly, now that his return is truly imminent, D.J. is appearing more like luxurious depth than crucial missing link.
And with the Broncos having patiently waited out the situation as we'd suggested they should back in August, Denver again holds all the cards, and this leverage has resulted in a chastened Dyme Life Williams coming back to the team at a deep discount to what had originally been a $4.9M salary this season.
D.J.'s salary for 2013 - the final season of a six-year, $32M extension signed in September 2008 - was scheduled to be worth $6M, but it remains to be seen whether that figure was also revised downward. Our guess is that it indeed was, given that the linebacker claims he wants to finish his career in Denver.
We'll wait for contract details to emerge to cast further judgment, but for now, we'll heartily applaud the Broncos' handling of the situation, and D.J.'s willingness to put his money where his mouth is.
Whatever his role may be going forward, let's hope it contributes to a deep postseason run that continues right up until his ankle monitor gets slapped on, and that the up-and-down drama at both linebacker for the Broncos and in D.J.'s personal life have come to a quiet, happy conclusion.
Like fellow undrafted corner Chris Harris, Tony Carter was not invited to combine, and he says that's put a chip on his shoulder.
Dan Pompei checks in with John Elway regarding the progress of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and the influence of Peyton Manning upon them.
Woody Paige says there truly is no bitterness toward the Panthers organization from Fox, who says he was ready to take a year off from coaching before taking the Broncos gig instead.
Denver ranks second in the NFL in offensive red-zone efficiency, and can anyone remember a time when that was the case in the past 14 years? Unfortunately, they're also fifth-worst in that category on defense.
Mark Kiszla is among the crowd complaining about the Broncos' selection of Brock Osweiler, but has everyone already forgotten the mess in Indy that resulted in Peyton Manning coming to Denver? They didn't have any sort of real backup or QB of the future, which is why Bill Polian is now a television pundit instead of continuing his storied career as a GM. Denver's former QB aside, this was the story of the 2011 NFL season.
Tom Sorensen revisits Fox's departure from Carolina and doesn't buy the coach's claim that he doesn't especially want his team to beat the Panthers' brains in.
Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy are a legitimate match for Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil among prolific sack duos.
Incredibly, the Panthers have not won any of the 13 games in which Cam Newton has thrown an interception. Of course, file under trivia - not stats.
Carolina will honor injured Air Force Staff Sargeant Brian Williams prior to kickoff today. As always, thank you, veterans.
Our thoughts go out to Raiders defensive line coach Terrell Williams, who is facing the unfathomable loss of his four-year-old son, who had contracted a sudden illness earlier in the week.
Oakland brought CB Ron Bartell back from IR, promoted RB Jeremy Stewart, creating room for them by cutting starting corner Pat Lee and placing fellow corner Shawntae Spencer on IR.
Romeo Crennel has taken the remarkable step of threatening to bench any Chiefs player whom he determines responsible for giving the ball away; Randy Covitz compares the first four years of Scott Pioli's tenure as Chiefs GM to the same span of Carl Peterson's stint in KC, and finds Pioli comes up quite short.
New England activated TE Visanthe Shiancoe from IR; the G-Men activated S Will Hill from suspension and placed CB Michael Coe on IR to make room for him; Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders was fined $15K by the league for allegedly faking an injury against the Bengals, and he will appeal the ruling.
Mike Lombardi says Sean Payton will be back coaching the Saints next year, although that appears to be more his opinion than a reporting of fact.