The Chicago Bears aren’t the team that goes out and gets “players of high moral character” anymore. That may be a good thing.
In the past, former general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith would champion the idea. Players like Tank Johnson were quickly booted off the team for breaking the law. Fourth-overall pick Cedric Benson also got the walking papers for off the field conduct.
Flash forward to last season and incoming general manager Phil Emery quickly made a trade for the trouble-plagued Brandon Marshall.
Marshall was officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and was falsely accused of punching a woman in the face outside of a club, which sparked the Miami Dolphins to remove him from the team. He played last season with the Bears with no problems, however, and also broke the team record for receptions and yards.
No one ever says you have to be the person you were the day before, and Marshall found pride in his diagnosis and established a charity surrounding it. It was a feel-good story, and Phil Emer made the right call.
This off-season, the Bears decided to part ways with future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher. The next day, they signed the troublesome D.J. Williams. Is he just another case of a misguided man? Is he also in need of intense psychotherapy?
I was on the fence with the Marshall trade, and he proved me wrong. He put up and shut up. He kept his game at a top level and stayed out of trouble.
With Williams, I simply don’t care about his signing, but I have to congratulate the Bears for not guaranteeing the majority of his salary. I don’t think that Williams will get in trouble again, but I do suspect he won’t produce at all.
I’ll overlook Williams two DUI’s. As stupid as they are, he is human indeed and it could happen to almost anyone. It’s just a shame that a player with his success couldn’t realize he was at more of a risk to get in trouble. He also has more to lose than most men.
What I can’t overlook is his drug use. While undergoing mandatory testing in 2012, he attempted to have a trainer swap a bottle of urine, and later received a nine-game suspension and was ultimately released by the Denver Broncos.
I don’t care what kind of drugs were in Williams’ urine. I do care that the Bears didn’t guarantee his contract. That’s about it. Both Marshall and Williams have a long way to go to earn my respect.
As a fan, I care about Bears production. I don’t care what you do off the field and if it involves getting in trouble, your leash had better be a short one with the team. I’ll stand by my statement that people can change, but the latest signing of Williams doesn’t make me think we’re a playoff team.
If the guy can’t see the field, what’s the point of the signing? So the Bears didn’t offer him guaranteed money? Big deal.