The Cincinnati Bengals announced they were placing guard Bobbie Williams on injured reserve after he suffered a broken ankle in Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans. The move puts an end to Williams' 2011 season and perhaps his career, at least as a Bengal.
Williams has been a mainstay on the Bengals offensive line since the team acquired him as a free agent from Philadelphia in 2005. He was the last remaining member of the 2005 offensive line that set a franchise record, allowing only 21 sacks and took the team to an AFC North title and the playoffs.
Williams missed the first four games this season sitting out an NFL-imposed suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, but has never missed a game due to injury as a Bengal until now. His veteran leadership has helped solidify the right side of the Bengals offensive line. Tackle Andre Smith has repeatedly praised Williams' role in his advancement this season.
With Williams a free agent after this season and at 35 years old, it's unlikely the team will tender him another contract, especially now coming off a severe injury.
Mike McGlynn, obtained off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this season, stepped in for Williams yesterday after he left the game. He'll most likely be named starter. The team signed G Otis Hudson from the practice squad to take Williams' roster spot. Rookie Clint Boling who started when Williams was out earlier in the year could also see increased playing time.
On a personal note, Williams was the kindest, most personable member of the Bengals I've ever met. I got to meet him at training camp before the 2008 season. He was willing to sign and speak to every fan who approached him. He was especially aware of the kids around him and made a point to interact with them. His smile was infectious. Even after a long summer's practice, he was laughing and joking with everyone and the last to leave the field. Here's hoping there's always a role within the organization for someone like Bobbie Williams.
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