New Bears linebacker D.J. Williams, signed by Chicago in the offseason days after the team released veteran Brian Urlacher, had to leave practice on Wednesday with a calf injury. Rookie Jon Bostic took first team snaps in his absence.
The Bears signed the 31-year-old veteran in March to help ease the transition from Urlacher to Bostic, the second-round pick out of Florida who is seen as the future of the position in Chicago. This injury could start to open the door for Bostic to prove he is capable of starting at the position right away. That sort of pressure might help Williams stay out of trouble over the next few weeks, assuming he is able to heal quickly and get back on the field.
Williams was suspended for six games last year after failing a league drug test, and the suspension was eventually extended by three more games. This was not the first violation by Williams, the 17th overall pick by Denver in the 2004 draft. He also had DUI charges in 2005 and 2010.
The Broncos released Williams at the end of the year, and the Bears quickly swooped him up as an experienced player that would help the transition to guys like Bostic and fellow rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene. Now, they just have to wait and see how long it is until he's back on the field.