Does this Eagle, Released After 29 Years, Deserve a Super Bowl Ring? (Because He Was Technically on the Team)
The Eagles made an odd roster move Thursday. Funny story out of NovaCare via Reuben Frank at NBC Sports Philadelphia:
In a bizarre roster transaction, the Eagles formally waived one-time first-round pick Bernard Williams, who was an All-Rookie offensive tackle in 1994 but was suspended for six games in July of 1995 after a positive marijuana test, then suspended again that October for the remainder of the season.
He never played an NFL snap after his rookie year.
Williams never applied for reinstatement to the NFL and has remained on the NFL’s suspended list for nearly three decades.
According to an Eagles spokesman, NFL officials contacted the Eagles recently and explained that they were clearing out decades-old players on various reserve lists when Williams’ name surfaced. Since the Eagles had never released Williams, he was still technically a member of the team.
The Eagles never bothered to release him and there was never really a reason to. He wasn’t getting paid, he wasn’t gaining pension credit, he didn’t count against the roster. He was a forgotten guy on an obscure reserve list, and it’s likely current Eagles brass didn’t even know he was still technically an Eagle.
Technically, this dude was a member of the Birds this whole time. So that begs the question: Should Bernie Williams get a Super Bowl ring? I say yes. I mean Carson Wentz had the same effect on the outcome of that game.
Not to mention the vast possibilities he could’ve had for his career if the NFL didn’t treat pot like your grandmother. This guy would’ve been a part of two 10-6 Ray Rhodes teams. He could’ve been anchoring the line for the next decade. All respect to Barrett Brooks, who put together a respectful career, but imagine Ricky Watters running behind a SEC tackle. “For Who? For What” might’ve become “For You. That’s What.” What if the team rallied around the old vet in 2004, his last year, and instead of Donovan McNabb going out the night before the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, they smoke a nice joint on the balcony and get some rest? It’s entirely possible.
Do the right thing, Jeffrey. Get Bernie Williams a ring.