D.J. Williams, Broncos linebacker, guilty of DWAI: Should he stay or go?

Attorney Harvey Steinberg's Broncos winning streak is over. After helping Perrish Cox escape unscathed after sexual assault claims by a woman he impregnated and helping Elvis Dumervil evade charges in an alleged road rage incident in Miami, Steinberg client D.J. Williams has been found guilty of DWAI. Now what?

Williams is no superstar, but he's been a solid player for the Broncos' much maligned defense since the team drafted him in in 2004 out of the University of Miami. But he's also gotten into more than his share of trouble, making multiple appearances on our roster of 34 Bronco arrests since 2000 -- third most of any team in the NFL. In September 2005, he was busted on a driving-under-the-influence charge; he ultimately pleaded guilty to driving while impaired, agreeing to 24 hours of community service and one year probation. Then, at about 2:40 a.m. on November 12, 2010, he was pulled over on a suspected DUI beef, earning this mug shot for his trouble.

This accusation finally came before the court this week, after a previous session ended in a mistrial. According to the Denver Post, attorney Steinberg trotted out the mistrial tactic again in relation to the latest hearing, but it didn't fly. In the end, the jury found Williams guilty of driving while ability impaired, a conviction that's less severe than a DUI but serious enough to add to his current burden of trouble.

The latter includes widespread derision after he tweeted this photo of his Broncos playbook:

In addition, Williams is facing a six-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing-drugs test. And he reportedly flunked two other tests, including one in which he's said to have submitted urine that wasn't human in origin.

His testing issues alone might well have convinced NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to increase Williams's time on the shelf. A second DWAI conviction will likely result in an even greater punishment, for violating the league's personal conduct policy -- and that's not even counting his potential sentence from the State of Colorado, which the Post describes as "a minimum of ten days and up to one year in jail, a fine amount of $600 to $1,500 and 48 to 120 hours of community service."

Should the Broncos cut him loose at this point? The team would take a salary cap hit for doing so -- but the PR disaster that would accompany keeping him around would cost even more. The squad survived the departure of bad apple Brandon Marshall, a more talented player than Williams. They can certainly do so in the case of this particular D.J., whose set list is becoming more embarrassing as time goes on.

More from our Sports archive: "Photos: 34 Broncos arrests since 2000, third most of any team."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts