DeShawn Williams leaves Broncos; reunites with Ejiro Evero in Carolina

Mar 15, 2023, 6:53 PM

DeShawn Williams hoped to come back to Denver. And the Broncos’ decision to retain defensive-line coach Marcus Dixon seemed to make that a possibility.

But instead, Williams will go back to his home region. Wednesday, he signed with the Carolina Panthers, putting him back together with former defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who departed for the same position on Frank Reich’s staff after the season ended.

Williams had the best season of his career last year for the Broncos. He started 15 games and logged a career-best 4.5 sacks. It was a career-changing campaign for Williams, who spent two years fighting for back-of-the-roster spots after playing three seasons (2015-17) for the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams’ path detoured to the Canadian Football League, although the Calgary Stampeders released him in 2020 without playing a game.

Immediately after that, he rejoined the Broncos during their COVID-19-impacted 2020 training camp. He stuck on the expanded practice squad a month later, then made the most of limited playing time, with two sacks and an interception. That gave him a foothold on a rotational spot with the Broncos.

After the 2022 season, Williams expressed a desire to come back.

“Oh, yeah, for sure. Not even a question. I definitely want to be back,” Williams said on Jan. 9. “Y’all have seen my growth coming in. This fanbase has opened its arms to me and my family. It’s great. I would love to be here.”

But he wouldn’t give a discount.

“I’m not going to take nothing cheap, I know that,” Williams said then. “George [Paton] gave me the opportunity to show what I could do. Whatever coach comes in, they just turn on the tape and see what nine-nine [himself] did this year.”

Williams was born and raised in upstate South Carolina, roughly two hours from Charlotte, N.C., where the Panthers play. Immediately after signing, Williams tweeted a picture from himself wearing Panthers gear while growing up.


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