Bernard Williams, a former Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle, received a surprise call this week, informing him that he was waived and no longer on the Eagles’ roster. That was news to the 51-year-old, who wasn’t even aware that he was still part of the team list almost 30 years after he left the Eagles.
Williams Played His Last Eagles Game in 1995
Many people who saw that a certain Bernard Williams was waived by the Eagles on Thursday didn’t know who that was and were taken aback when they realized that it was the ex-Eagles tackle who last played for Philadelphia 29 years ago.
Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Andrew DiCecco, Williams confirmed the news, saying he was at work when he got the news. He told DiCecco that he received a call from Ventell Boulware, a kid he coached in high school and now a scout for the Green Bay Packers while he was driving an Amazon route.
Boulware asked Williams if he “did anything with the NFL.” The former 14th overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft told the Packers scout that he applied for benefits before Boulware informed him that he was just released by the Eagles, 29 years after he left them.
Williams instantly remembered that even though they released him, the Eagles never gave him an official confirmation that he was no longer on the roster, which surprised him at the time.
That could have had something with the fact Williams tested positive for illegal substances in 1995, and the Eagles suspended him for the season. The strict policies the league had on drugs back then didn’t help.
Didn’t Apply to Play in the NFL after the Ban
Before testing positive for marijuana, the offensive tackle turned in some impressive performances and started all of the Eagles’ sixteen games in the 1995 season.
However, because of his season-long suspension, Williams had to re-apply to the NFL to play again, something he didn’t do, so he somehow remained in the NFL and Eagles’ databases.
Interestingly, he could have stayed on Philadelphia’s list even longer if Eagles officials weren’t informed by the league that they found a 51-year-old Eagles player while clearing reserve lists from back in the day.
Could Have Been a Hall of Fame Player
If Williams played today, his ban would have likely been much shorter, as the league has loosened its marijuana suspension policies. As a result, he could have had a better career than the one he prematurely ended.
After testing positive for marijuana, Williams didn’t play a single NFL match but later joined XFL, AFL, and CFL sides, such as the Detroit Fury and the Toronto Argonauts.
The former player, who tested positive for marijuana as many as 15 times, thought he could have easily played at the top level for 10 or 15 years and could have even been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
However, he doesn’t have any regrets and thinks he made the right choices, as, in his words, “football isn’t life,” and despite loving the sport, he loved himself more.
He said he was aware he could have been better off with the $50 or $100 million NFL paycheck, but money didn’t bother him, as when he was rich he wasn’t that happy.