I didn't think the Bears' recent acquisition of linebacker DJ Williams would be worth a lot of comments, but I was wrong. I noticed the fans railing against the Trib's Steve Rosenbloom's latest blog, but some fans will rail against Rosie no matter what he writes. All Rosie really wrote was that Emery was taking a risk by replacing Urlacher with a guy with Moore's history for evading drug tests, yet 16 people took time out of their busy days to tell Rosie he was wrong, and not a single person posted in agreement.
So I looked back at the original Tribune story by Dan Pompei on the DJ Williams and it generated a surprising 126 comments by 78 people over 57 posts. Of the 56 people who weighed in on the move, 72% liked the move, and I was one of them. Jim G's post raves about Williams' athleticism, calls him "a good guy," and gets 22 likes:
Pompei's story spells it flat-out that Williams was suspended for six games for violating the league's performance-enhancement drug policy and three games for his second DUI arrest. A lot of folks like the move because Williams comes at a low-risk, incentive-laden 1-year deal. A few folks still can't past the Urlacher thing, especially when the Tribune foolishly headlined the story "Bears Find a Replacement Linebacker for Urlacher". The guy was signed to a 1-year deal for $1.75MM with incentives, that's the replacement for a Hall of Fame linebacker? Very funny. Let's move on from Urlacher...
The thing about the Williams signing is that from a football standpoint, it's a pretty darn good move, which is why I initially liked it. He has shown the capability to play at a very high level, among the best in the game at his position. At age 30, he should still be in the prime of his career. Best of all, the contract has a lot of incentives and no guarantees. If he plays, he will play well or could even play very well. If he doesn't play well or he screws up, he's gone, simple as that. Bears have more work to do at the linebacker position, even after adding James Anderson. From a football standpoint, they're off to a good start.
I initially glossed over the PEDs thing myself, but Rosie's story prompted me to check out Williams' history. I didn't have to try very hard to find out from deadspin that DJ Williams has tried to cheat NFL drug tests more than once. So get this straight: DJ Williams is a steroid cheat. He uses illegal performance-enhancing drugs and that's part of the NFL player he is. That's a fact. He was caught. He comes to the Bears with that baggage, but 72% of respondents don't care. If they don't care now, you can damn well believe that if he's out there making tackles and forcing fumbles, no one in Chicago will care that DJ Williams is basically a steroid cheat. I saw as many mentions of his multiple DUIs as I did his PEDs use. While DUIs are sad and serious, they can at least be referred to as "off-the-field problems". PEDs use, meanwhile, is an on-the-field problem, as in cheating the game of football.
On a tangent, I absolutely can't understand these rules they're enacting in the name of player safety. If they're so serious about player safety, why not crack down on PEDs use? If you read the Deadspin article, you'll understand that NFL drug testing is in fact a joke. PEDs use is pretty rampant in the NFL, resulting in bigger, faster guys than ever before colliding at full speed with more combined force than the human body can handle, car-accident level hits that tear muscles and ligaments from the bones. Cracking down on PEDs also means these men would live longer lives without their bodies breaking down from PEDs use.
Rosenbloom gives Williams a harder time for PEDs use than Pompei does, but all he gets is hate and disagreements. Bears fans are commenting completely in favor of DJ Williams coming to the Bears.
Perhaps the NFL is wise in its pursuit of player safety through rule changes rather than a PEDs crackdown: Fans don't like seeing their favorite players injured, but they sure don't seem to mind cheering a player who benefits from PEDs use, especially when he's under a team-friendly contract.