Due to repeated violations of the league's substance-abuse policy, Williams and Davis were set to be suspended for one year. But the NFL and the NFLPA have negotiated a settlement that reduces the suspension to four games, assuming each player agrees to that. Chris Mortensen reports that Williams has already agreed to the four-game suspension while Davis has yet to formally do so. I can't imagine what would drive a guy to decline a four-game suspension in favor of a one-year suspension, but then again I can't imagine what drives guys to keep doing drugs over and over again when they've been told they're going to be suspended for it.
That's the thing you have to understand about what happened with these guys -- the number of chances they had to avoid this. I spoke with a source Sunday afternoon who has direct knowledge of the situation, and here is what I was told:
1. Williams and Davis were already in the league's drug program because of violations in previous years. This is Williams' second year in the NFL and Davis' fourth.
2. Williams and Davis not only tested positive during the approximately 30-day "grace period" the league and the union negotiated to immediately follow the end of the lockout, but have tested positive more than once since the end of that grace period for recreational -- i.e., not performance-enhancing -- drugs.
3. The nine other players who tested positive during the grace period will not face punishment for those violations, meaning Williams and Davis could have gotten off scott-free after their first positive drug tests of this season, but decided instead to keep doing drugs.
The only sympathy I have in this situation is for the rest of the players on a Redskins offense that looks as though it's starting to jell and do some good things. Because without Williams and Davis in the final four weeks, they're going to find things very difficult.