One of the agents for recently released wide receiver Roydell Williams may pursue a grievance through the NFL Players Association against the Tennessee Titans saying he was improperly released because of his ankle injury.
“We’re going to get Roydell a second opinion on his ankle this week,” agent Rick Roberts said. “Common sense tells you he was hurt and he that wasn’t ready to play. You guys [media] saw that, and we saw that.
“He was getting shots in his ankle and pushed back onto the playing field and at the end of it, they just gave him a high five, said he did his best, but just couldn’t do it. Luckily for us, that’s not the way the NFL works.”
The Titans declined comment until at least after a grievance is filed. NFLPA officials could not be reached as their offices are closed for today’s memorial service for former executive director Gene Upshaw.
Williams, who tied for the team lead with 55 catches last year, broke his right ankle in January in practice before the Titans’ wild-card playoff loss at San Diego. The injury required surgery to insert a plate and screws into the ankle to help the leaing process. Williams missed the Titans’ entire off-season program and was on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp before being restored to the active roster on Aug. 4.
A few days later during joint practices with the St. Louis Rams, Williams was again out of action with a sprain that Titans coach Jeff Fisher referred to Monday as a “second issue after we cleared him.”
Williams returned to play in the final two preseason games, but was waived in final cuts on Aug. 30. He played approximately six plays against Atlanta, and was in for several series on Aug. 28 at Green Bay. He did not have any catches in the preseason.
Roberts said he has already spoken to the NFL Players Association and will view the results of the second opinion on Williams’ ankle before he and his partner Jeffrey Guerrerio decide exactly what course of action to take.
Roberts is of the opinion that Williams should have never been removed from the PUP list in the first place until the ankle was 100 percent.
“They rushed him back and then at last second he gets released without the injury healing, him being given a physical or anything. That’s not right for our client,” Roberts said. “In most situations, you put a guy on PUP and get him back healthy. I don’t feel like that’s what Roydell was given.”
Asked if he was worried that filing a grievance might make it harder for Williams, a three-year veteran, to get back on an NFL roster once he is healthy, Roberts said it was not a concern at the present.
“We know Roydell is not close to 100 percent. … We’re going to do what’s best for Roydell,” Roberts said. “That’s not really our concern. We know that Roydell Williams at 100 percent can play for any team in the NFL. And he could be a starting receiver for a lot of teams. But Roydell at 65 or 70 percent is not good enough to play for anybody. Roydell knows that.”
Williams cleared waivers on Sunday, and Roberts said no team would likely sign him in his present condition.
“It’s like when I told the Titans spokesman yesterday, if Roydell came to their team in the condition he’s in right now, they wouldn’t sign him,” Roberts said.
When NFL players are released, they are given an exit physical and asked to sign a release which states the player is healthy. Roberts said Williams got no physical, and did not sign anything. That, according to one prominent NFL agent, allows Williams to get a second opinion from a neutral physician.
“If he comes off PUP, and he has re-aggravated it or done anything, whether he’s pulled a hamstring, messed up his shoulder and if they release him, the team wants the player to sign [the release], and the player does not sign, you can go for a second opinion from a neutral doctor, you have the leverage as a player,” the agent, who asked not to be identified, said. “It happens a lot. If they released him injured, all they have to do is file a grievance. And once they file a grievance, that full amount of money goes against the team’s cap until it is resolved.”
Williams had a base salary of around $520,000 and with bonuses and prorated money would have counted around $1 million against Tennessee’s cap this season.