The Philadelphia Eagles made a roster move on Wednesday, waiving offensive lineman Bernard Williams.
On its face, that sentence doesn’t seem too strange.
The Eagles are one of the best teams in football and are constantly shuffling their roster in the heart of a 17-game NFL season.
But Bernard Williams is 51 years old. Which raises the question, how was he on Philadelphia’s roster and why was he just now cut?
As it turns out, there’s a good answer for that.
The two players the Eagles waived today, per the NFL’s official transaction log: Myles Jack from reserve/retired list, and Bernard Williams from reserve/suspended list.
Bernard Williams hasn’t played since 1994. The Eagles’ current LT, Jordan Mailata, was not yet born. pic.twitter.com/3CwCxhc6im
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 17, 2023
The Eagles selected Williams with the 14th overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Georgia. The 6-foot-8, 317-pound tackle made an immediate impact, lading on the 1994 NFL All-Rookie team
But he was later suspended after failing multiple drug tests.
Rather than seeking immediate reinstatement, Williams went on to play out his career in the CFL, XFL and AFL.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News (RIP), he tried to re-enter the league in 1996, but was unsuccessful.
“He tried to apply for reinstatement in the spring of ’96, but couldn’t convince the league he had stopped using marijuana,” the report states. “He still hadn’t gone to a drug-treatment facility, and hadn’t been tested since his suspension.”
“I still hadn’t gotten a grip on my marijuana use,” Williams said. “People from the league told me I wasn’t ready for reinstatement. They said it would be best for me if I didn’t apply at that time. That’s when I kind of said forget it.
“I still wanted to play in the NFL. But I was bitter about what went on. I figured that at some point and time, I’d get sick of just sitting around and not playing and give it another try.”
Because he was never reinstated, the Eagles retained his rights. Rights they still held up until yesterday. Which is why, on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles cut ties with a 51-year-old offensive lineman.