It is no surprise that the story Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams is telling regarding his accident and arrest last Saturday differs from the one being told by Frisco police in their official report.
There are implications far beyond a misdemeanor arrest for public intoxication on the line for him.
Any alcohol-related conviction could result in a suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. And per a source, "all" Cowboys contracts have language in them to void guaranteed money if a player is suspended.
Remember, Williams was considered safe in the off-season overhaul of the receiver corps because his $3.5 million salary for 2018 was guaranteed, making it cost prohibitive for the Cowboys to release him. Without that, he would not be so secure.
Now it must be noted that the NFL doesn't move fast on these matters and it must run through the court process first.
But ff he were to be suspended, the Cowboys would owe him nothing and they would just have to eat the $3.75 million dead money rather than $7.25 million as it stands now if they decided to release him.
All of this matters because of the upheaval at receiver with Dez Bryant released and the additions of position coach Sanjay Lal, free agents Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson and draft picks Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson to go with holdovers like Cole Beasley and Noah Brown. The team also acquired Tavon Austin in a trade from the Los Angeles Rams.
It all makes Williams, who is possibly sidelined until training camp after undergoing off-season surgery for a fractured foot, potentially expendable if he doesn't stand out among the crowded field at receiver once he returns, because there would be no negative financial hurdles.
Williams caught 53 passes for a career-low 568 yards last season and no touchdowns. It was the first time in his career he failed to catch a touchdown pass in a game.
So the question now becomes which accident story is going to win out in court and under the eyes of the NFL discipline department.
Per the Frisco police, officers responded to a minor vehicle accident at about 4:45 a.m. on Saturday in the area of Frisco Green Avenue and Lebanon Road. Police found that a 2017 blue Lamborghini had left the roadway and struck a light pole. The driver of the vehicle had fled the scene and could not be found in the area.
After determining the car belonged to Williams, officers went to his home and found him riding an electric bicycle in the road.
Williams was arrested and charged with public intoxication, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
Police are still investigating an offense of Duty on Striking a Structure, Fixture, or Highway Landscaping for the driver of the vehicle. No charges for that offense, a Class B misdemeanor, have been filed at this time.
Hours after being released from the Frisco Detention Center on a $369 bond, Williams issued a statement through his lawyer.
“I am grateful that no one was injured in the accident,” Williams said in the statement. “The driver in front of me slammed on his brakes and I turned to the left and hopped the curb to avoid hitting him. I got his insurance information and my neighbor picked me up when my car wouldn’t drive. I live right near where the accident occurred, so my neighbor dropped me off and I called a tow truck and took the scooter from my house to go meet the tow truck driver. The police officer, who I have met in the past in the neighborhood, saw me on the scooter and arrested me without performing any sobriety tests. I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how. I apologize if I should have handled it a little bit differently.”
Williams' lawyer, Chip Lewis, even denied that his car hit a light pole.
“We appreciate the professionalism of all law enforcement involved in handling this situation,” Lewis said. “Contrary to media reports, Terrance did not hit a light pole and there was no light pole even near the vehicle. Secondly, his arrest was wholly unrelated to the traffic accident.”
It seems strange that basic facts of the situation differ so widely.
What is not up for dispute is that a lot is possibly on the line, including Williams’ future with the Cowboys, depending on which story wins out.