One of the toughest and most durable Bengals of his generation couldn’t survive a broken right ankle and for the first time in his 12 NFL seasons right guard Bobbie Williams went on season-ending injured reserve Monday.
At age 35 and in the last year of his deal, there is speculation that Williams has left the Paul Brown Stadium field for the last time. And if it is, how fitting. Even though he was hurting he walked into the locker room during the second quarter firing up the crowd with his ever sunny smile.
Ever since he arrived via free agency in 2004 from the Eagles, the 6-4 345-pound man-mountain Williams has been such a rock in the locker room, they call him “Boss Man.” Always known as an excellent run blocker, Williams improved his pass blocking when he got to Cincinnati and was part of the ’05 and ’07 lines that set the club for fewest sacks allowed.
The only Bengals games Williams had missed before serving a four-game NFL suspension at the beginning of this season for violating the NFL’s policy on physical enhancers were three games during the 2006 season after an appendectomy. His 117 games with the Bengals have straddled perennial Pro Bowler Willie Anderson and first-rounder Andre Smith as his partners at right tackle. Williams was on the field for Carson Palmer’s first fourth-quarter comeback in 2004 and Andy Dalton’s second in 2011.
Williams, the only offensive player left from head coach Marvin Lewis’ first AFC North champs in 2005, had been a second-round pick of the Eagles in 2000. When the Bengals drafted Clint Boling in the fourth round this season and picked up four-year Eagles center Mike McGlynn off waivers just before the season, they appeared to be moving to youth at that spot.
McGlynn, who started at center for last season’s NFC East champions in Philadelphia, started ahead of Boling once he got comfortable with the offense and before Williams returned. It was McGlynn that replaced Williams on Sunday. The Bengals are also high on 2010 fifth-rounder Otis Hudson, the guard they drafted in the fifth round out of Eastern Illinois in 2010. They signed Hudson from the practice squad Monday.
Before Hudson hurt his knee early in training camp, offensive line coach Paul Alexander said he and Smith were his two most improved players.
Tags: Bengals offensive line, Bobbie Williams, Clint Boling, Mike McGlynn, Paul Alexander
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