DJ Williams Glad to be Back

DENVER – For linebacker D.J. Williams, there’s a big difference between merely being around the game and strapping on the helmet and shoulder pads for live action.

“It’s 100 percent better,” Williams said. “When you’re just in the locker room, one of the guys, you kind of feel like you don’t deserve things until you get out there and actually produce and help your team win.”

After serving a nine-game suspension to open the season, Sunday night’s win over the Chargers marked Williams’ first taste of the gridiron since Jan. 14, the final game of the Broncos’ 2011 campaign. Head Coach John Fox said Williams’ effort to stay in shape throughout the suspension paid dividends.

“I thought he had a great week of preparation,” Fox said. “The guy obviously worked diligently while he was away from us so we were very happy to have him back. He made a mistake, paid his dues and without looking at the tape, I know he made a good play on a run through over toward their bench.”

Williams said the best part of suiting up again was the familiar feeling of sharing the field with his teammates.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing football 17 years of my life, it’s basically all I know. It feels great to be in the locker room, the camaraderie with the guys, just go out there, go to war and go to battle and come home with the victory.”

Despite the long break from the game at a position as physical as linebacker, Williams did not feel any ill effects of his time away in his return, saying that if anything, he would have liked to absorb a few more hits.

“I feel good,” Williams said. “I feel like I could do a little bit more, but that’s up to the coaches. They’re working me in slowly. The way it is here, we have to earn the play. So just keep grinding in practice and hopefully I can get out there more.”

Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, who is tied with Williams as the longest-tenured Bronco, said it’s hard to get back up to speed after extended time away. But from what Bailey saw, Williams looked anything but rusty.

“Working him in the mix today, that was beautiful for us,” Bailey said. “You don’t know what to expect, really, because he’s been out so long. But, he did exactly what I kind of expected. Nobody else knew it, but I know what type of person he is and how much he wants it. I’m just happy for him, we got it done and hopefully we can expand his role.”

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