If there's a star Broncos player who has been known to find controversy or trouble, chances are Chicago will eventually become his kind of town.
D.J. Williams is the latest star-crossed Bronco who has found his way to the Chicago Bears' roster, following quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall.
Williams, a former De La Salle high star who turns 31 in July, started at four linebacker positions in his first eight seasons with the Broncos. Troubles with the law and the league benched Williams from much of the Broncos' season in 2012, but with the Bears he is expected to replace the once iconic Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker. Urlacher was released Thursday by the Bears.
Williams was released by the Broncos on March 11 for a variety of reasons, his scheduled 2013 salary of $6 million among them. With the Bears, Williams received a one-year, $900,000 deal with incentives possibly increasing his take to $1.75 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.
What is it about the Bears taking the Broncos' problem children? Cutler was a Broncos' Pro Bowl quarterback in 2008, but he was irate with the team's firing of head coach Mike Shanahan, and madder yet that Josh McDaniels was hired to replace him.
A personality conflict between Cutler and McDaniels pushed the Broncos to trade their quarterback to Chicago, where he has yet to have a Pro Bowl season.
Marshall was a 100-catch-a-year receiver for the Broncos, but his off-field domestic violence charges (none of which resulted in conviction), contract squabbles and dispute with McDaniels forced his trade to Miami, who two years later dealt him to Chicago.
And now Williams. The Broncos' first-round pick in the 2004 draft, No. 17 overall, Williams had a superb rookie season as a weakside linebacker, leading the team in tackles, but his playing time was reduced in 2005-06 when he was switched to strongside linebacker while Ian Gold and Al Wilson were used in the team's nickel packages.
Williams rebounded in 2007 as a middle linebacker, leading the team with 170 tackles -- a total that hasn't been eclipsed since by a Bronco.
From 2008-11, Williams started at outside linebacker in the 4-3, and weakside inside backer in the 3-4, but his 2012 season was marked with one problem after another.
First, he failed a performance-enhancement test administered after the 2011 lockout. After various appeals, Williams was forced by the NFL to serve a six-game suspension to start the 2012 season. He then tweeted a small portion of the Broncos playbook. He also was convicted by a court jury of an alcohol-related driving offense and had three more games tacked onto his suspension.
Upon his return to the Broncos for the final seven games of the regular season, Williams was a reserve who played between 10 and 30 plays a game.