Earlier this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a move which made several people shake their head. Running back Karlos Williams, brother of Steelers linebacker Vince Williams, who was released by the Buffalo Bills after being suspended the first four games of the 2016 season, was signed by the Steelers at the conclusion of his suspension.
Fans took to social media saying things like:
“Just what we need...another suspended running back.”
Despite that, he was signed to the practice squad, and stayed there for about a month, but when the team needed to bring up a running back from the practice squad, it was Daryl Richardson, not Williams, who got the call. In the coming days fans found out why.
It was reported shortly after that Williams was suspended for 10-games or again violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Steelers never made a public statement of the release of Williams, and he was still seen around the facility on several different occasions on players’ social media accounts, but was nowhere to be found on the team’s official practice squad roster.
Nonetheless, Monday evening the NFL lifted Williams’ suspension, and the Steelers signed him to a futures contract.
NFL lifted suspension of RB Karlos Williams & Steelers sign him. Brother of LB Vince was on Steelers practice squad when suspended this year— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 23, 2017
The futures contract will keep Williams in the Steelers organization, and give a him a chance to make the team in 2017. He might have a very good chance of doing so with DeAngelo Williams’ future up in the air, as well as his contract is due to expire at the end of the league year.
The other running back Williams will have to compete with is Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is an ERFA after this year. Things could get interesting, but if Williams can shape up while under the careful watch of his brother, he could be an asset to the team at the running back position.
The NFL did not release why the suspension was lifted.