As it turns out, the February release followed a request from Williams himself, who wanted out of what he still considers a volatile situation.
“At the end of the day, those guys were just going in a different direction,” Williams told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “From the start of training camp to the beginning of the season, they were going in a different direction. And it came a point during the season to where I wanted to be released. That’s why we got released because it wasn’t a stable spot. It’s not a stable spot.
“You don’t know who’s going to be the coaches from year to year, and I didn’t know that, so I didn’t want to be one of those veterans who is stuck in a spot and at the end of the day, I’m not going to be able to get a job because I was on a bad team. That’s why I wanted to get out of there.”
In reality, the 34-year-old defensive back was a strong candidate for a release regardless of whether he asked for it. Cutting ties with Williams and veteran quarterback Josh McCown saved Cleveland $11.3 million total in salary-cap space.
Williams started all 15 appearances after joining the Browns on a three-year deal as a free agent in 2015, racking up 69 tackles, one interception, and 10 passes defensed.
A series of injuries limited him to 12 games the following year, and he’d begun to make the transition to safety toward the end of the season.
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