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Initial hope: Shawn Williams won't miss season

Posted Aug 19, 2017

Pending more study of the tape, the good news is that the dislocated elbow suffered by Bengals starting safety Shawn Williams in Saturday night’s 30-12 pre-season loss to the Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium initially isn’t believed to be as severe as the one that knocked tight end Tyler Eifert out of the 2014 season after just nine snaps.

The other initial takeaway is that Williams could be back in four to six weeks and if it’s more he could be a candidate for injured reserve-return.

But the bad news is that they’ve lost one of their toughest and more versatile players in Williams, called by Derron Smith, the man who replaced him Saturday, as one of the league’s more underrated safeties after his first year as a starter last season.

“Losing anybody in a pre-season game like this sucks,” said secondary swingman Josh Shaw, who was on the field when the players heard Williams scream in pain in the second quarter. “But I’m sure he was going out soon, too.”

If there’s anyone who knows how tough and valuable Shawn Williams is, it Josh Shaw, his fellow versatile DB and specials teams maven and the man Shaw asked to be his best man at his wedding a year or so ago. To hear a warrior like Williams in pain was unsettling enough for his mates to hit their knees immediately.

“Shawn’s a tough guy. To hear him yelling like that, it can’t be good,” Shaw said. “That’s a big hole to fill. Shawn’s a good player.”

It’s an old wives tale, but it always seems to be true. When a wave of injuries comes it’s usually in the same position.

Don’t look now, but the Bengals have just three healthy safeties in Smith, second-year seventh-rounder Clayton Fejedelem, and undrafted rookie Demetrious Cox. Williams joins fellow starter George Iloka (knee) on the shelf with sixth-rounder Brandon Wilson (knee) who hasn’t been on the field since he got drafted. Cedric Thompson was waived injured before the game.

Shaw, who has been playing cornerback, expects now to be getting a ton of snaps at safety.

“We’ll see what happens this week,” said Shaw of next Sunday’s game in Washington. “I’ve got to step up for him and my team.”

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