I Don’t Care about Karlos Williams’ 10 Game Suspension. Neither Should Steelers Nation

Karlos Williams, a running back formerly of the Buffalo Bills and brother of Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, was signed to the Steelers practice squad in October. 

  • A fifth round pick by Buffalo in the 2015 NFL Draft, Williams showed great promise as a rookie, rushing for 517 yards and seven touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he showed great immaturity after that, reportedly turning up at his second training camp overweight and ultimately being released when he was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

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Steelers practice squad running back Karlos Williams and brother Vince Williams. Photo credit: John Grieshop, Brett Carlsen Getty Images via FOXsports.com

After serving his suspension, the Steelers snatched up Karlos Williams, who signed him to their practice squad in October. Not only did some consider it a foregone conclusion  that Pittsburgh would eventually promote Karlos Williams to the active  roster; some even speculated that he could be nice insurance for the seemingly inevitable departure of star running backs Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams both of whom are free agents after this season.

The reality: Karlos Williams never did get promoted to the Steelers active roster during his six week stay on their practice squad. Also,  it was announced on Wednesday that he will serve a 10-game suspension for, again, violating the NFL’s drug policy.

The Internet being what it is, and fans being who they usually are, many began to angrily lament the signing of such a troubled player a la Martavis Bryant — and another blemish on the Steelers (mythical) previously spotless record.

Yes, much like a traded away seventh round pick, some people apparently bought in way too deep on the addition of Williams to the team’s practice squad and are now considering this a major setback for the organization.


  • I could care less about Karlos Williams 10 game suspension. In-fact, before Wednesday’s announcement of his suspension, I had completely forgotten all about him.

As for the notion that he could take the place of a departing Le’Veon Bell next season: If Williams was really that talented and had that kind of can’t-miss potential, well, for one thing, he wouldn’t have been on the Steelers practice squad (he would have been immediately signed to their active roster); secondly, another team would have stolen him off of Pittsburgh’s practice squad a long, long time ago.

This is just speculation (everyone does it, so big whoop), but my guess is Karlos Williams was signed to the Steelers practice squad, as a favor to Vince Williams, his older brother and budding starting inside linebacker.

  • Will Williams, Karlos, that is, ever see action in a Steelers game? Will he ever see action in anyone else’s NFL game? I don’t know, and I don’t really care.

Karlos Williams was the proverbial flier of an acquisition. Had he panned out, great! But, if he didn’t–as appears to be the case after his latest drug transgression–how much of a risk was it in the first place? This is no different than a Major League Baseball team signing a troubled player to a minor league contract in the hopes that he’ll reform his ways and reach his potential.

  • In conclusion, the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives with just weeks left in the regular season.

They’ve got more important things to worry about than Karlos Willliams 10 game suspension, and so do you.


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