Hidden in the angst of a buzzer-beating, heart-wrenching, season-shortening loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday was the loss of RG Bobbie Williams, who was placed on IR today with an ankle fracture. This move not only ends his season, but I believe that it likely ends his career as a Bengal since his contract expires at the end of the season.
Williams was drafted out of Arkansas by the Philadelphia Eagles as the 61st pick in the 2000 draft. He has played longer than the two players that the Bengals took before him in that draft: Peter Warrick (2000-2006) and Mark Roman (2000-2009). In 2004, as Peter Warrick was moving to Seattle, Bobbie was brought in to Cincinnati to work along side the great Willie Anderson to solidify the right side. That is exactly what he did.
In eight seasons with the Bengals, Williams has not missed a game due to a football-related injury. That streak will end on Sunday. In 2006, Bobbie missed 3 games due to an appendectomy, and he missed the first 4 games of this season after being suspended for a violation of the league’s performance enhancing substance policy. He appealed the suspension but was denied.
In his 12th season, Bobbie did not seem to me to be as dominant as he had in been in the past, and he also seemed to be collecting more penalties this season. The Bengals brought in Mike McGlynn (from the Eagles, interestingly) as insurance, and it is a good thing they did. Many of us expected the Bengals to draft his replacement in the 2012 draft.
Bobbie is always been willing to speak to the media to assess games, whether after a thrilling win or a horrendous loss. I like how he is always pithy and humble. When something stunk, he said it stunk. When things go well, he is quick to praise his teammates.
I will always appreciate the quality of Bobbie as a player, a spokesman and a person. If he is willing, I hope the Bengals will make him an assistant line coach so that he can continue to pass on his wisdom to future players. But I suspect he could do well (with shorter hours) working as a part of the media.
If this is it, then farewell Bobbie Williams. You would undoubtedly be an easy and important choice to forever be right beside Willie Anderson in a Bengals Ring of Honor. If the Bengals had one.