Remember Karlos Williams? He’s back, for a third time. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed the second-year running back to a Reserve/Future contract among a group of 11 players, and did so on the same day that it was announced that his 10-game suspension that he had been handed was being lifted.
The Steelers worked Williams out earlier in the year after he had been released from the Bills because it was announced that he would have to serve a four-game suspension to start the season. Pittsburgh ended up signing him to the practice squad in October, but I believe it was a few weeks after that that it was announced that he would have to serve a second suspension.
There has been an awful lot of speculation about a player who has only spent a few weeks with the organization on their practice squad, although I must acknowledge that it is not wholly unjustified by any means. Even I have written an article previously about what his signing at the time might mean for the future. And I suppose here I am doing so again.
But many, including myself, believed that his future with the Steelers might have ended when he was suspended for a second time, so yesterday’s news that his suspension was not only lifted, but that he was being brought back into the Steelers’ organization, did come as a bit of a surprise.
Williams, of course, is the younger brother of fourth-year Pittsburgh linebacker Vince Williams, who has started several games over the course of his career due to injury, is a key special teams player, and may end up in the starting lineup outright before too long, perhaps as soon as the 2017 season. He signed an extension prior to the start of the 2016 season.
Karlos, the younger brother, was entering his second season in 2016 before his career was sidetracked with weight-gain issues and the pair of suspensions, but the running back had a very promising rookie campaign for the Bills in 2015, and I should probably add that there was no small group of Steelers fans who wanted their team to draft him the year that he came out, anyway.
The Steelers are facing an interesting situation at the running back position heading into this offseason. All of their running backs on the 2016 roster are not under contract for next season, although Fitzgerald Toussaint should be retained easily enough if they want him. Le’Veon Bell, however, is obviously the big target here, even if it is widely anticipated that he will be franchise tagged before he hits the market.
DeAngelo Williams, however, is another question. He is going to be 34 for the start of the next season, and while he has overall played well when he has been called upon, he is, at the very least, not a long-term option. Whether justified or not, there is optimism about Karlos Williams’ potential to be that. But, of course, for now, we’re just talking about a Reserve/Future contract.