DENVER – The Denver Broncos have stripped star linebacker D.J. Williams of his captaincy for the season and won't start him Sunday against Kansas City following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.
The Broncos also fined their leading tackler an undisclosed amount for missing practice and a meeting Friday when he was in a detox facility. The team issued a statement saying it was "extremely disappointed in D.J. Williams' careless and irresponsible actions Friday morning."
While some fans were wondering why Williams didn't get suspended like wide receiver Brandon Marshall (late for treatment) and Tony Scheffler (insubordination) were for the season finale last year, the Broncos did all they could to punish Williams, who leads the team in tackles and sacks.
It's up to the NFL to fine or suspend a player for alcohol-related offenses. And Williams faces a multiple-game suspension from the league because it was his second such arrest in his seven seasons in Denver. He also had a DUI arrest in 2005, when he pleaded guilty to impaired driving.
Other teams have similarly punished players for infractions and distractions. The New York Jets benched receiver Braylon Edwards for one quarter after a DUI arrest and the Tennessee Titans didn't let receiver Kenny Britt start after he got into a brawl at a bar.
San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson is serving a three-game suspension for multiple DUI arrests, which was reduced from an original four-game penalty.
If convicted, Williams also faces a mandatory 10-day jail sentence, although the judge could order he serve his sentence at home, and at least two years of probation. Williams has been ordered to appear in court Dec. 13.
Williams was arrested a little before 3 a.m. Friday when police spotted him driving his car without headlights. He was cited with DUI, a misdemeanor, as well as driving without headlights, and taken to a detox facility.
He showed up at team headquarters shortly after practice started Friday but left after a few minutes.