D.J. Williams absent from practice a day after his conviction in court

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Linebacker D.J. Williams was excused from the Denver Broncos’ practice for personal reasons Thursday morning, a day after being convicted on two charges in a Denver court.

He was one of nine players who didn’t participate in the Broncos’ last training camp practice that was open to the public, a workout in which two more players got hurt, continuing a run of tough luck at Dove Valley this week.

Williams was found guilty Wednesday of driving while ability-impaired and driving without his headlights, the offense that prompted police to stop him near downtown Denver about 3 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2010.

Already facing a six-game drug suspension to start the season, Williams is subject to further punishment from the NFL because of his conviction on the impaired driving charge. The league said it will review the matter.

The leading tackler in five of his eight seasons in Denver, Williams hasn’t been working with the starters during camp while the Broncos prepare his replacement, Wesley Woodyard, for the season.

Asked if Williams will play in any of the preseason games, coach John Fox said, “I haven’t decided that yet. We’re bringing him along, getting him ready for the season. And we’re about ready to go into a suspension time at the end of this month and we’ll go from there.”

Despite Williams’ off-the-field issues, he’s highly valued by the Broncos coaching staff for his technically sound play, and he’s still listed as the starter at weakside linebacker on their depth chart.

The Broncos (No. 10 in the AP Pro32) have been hit hard by injuries this week with two starters — defensive end Jason Hunter and right guard Chris Kuper — suffering injuries that required surgery. Hunter tore his right triceps and is likely out for the year and Kuper broke his left forearm and will miss up to six weeks.
“It’s hurtful to lose Jason Hunter,” Woodyard said. “He’s one of those guys that has a motor every day. Our coaches joke with him that he’s one of the type of guys that gets excited driving to work. He’s in the parking lot, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ He texted me last night and said he was going to miss us, so we’re going to miss him.”

Starting defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (concussion) and backup cornerback Joshua Moore (hamstring) went down with injuries Thursday morning.
The linebacker corps has been hit especially hard.

In addition to the Williams saga, rookie Danny Trevathan (ankle) and veteran Keith Brooking (hamstring) have been sidelined. Both were getting snaps at Williams’ position behind Woodyard.

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