FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. --- The Atlanta Falcons released disgruntled safety Jimmy Williams on Tuesday, two years after trading up 10 spots to pick him in the second round of the NFL Draft.
"It's a football decision," new Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "It's a decision we made, and one that we've been evaluating."
With only seven career starts in 27 games, Williams made a poor first impression on Smith, who demoted the former Virginia Tech standout to third string after he reported to a voluntary mini-camp nearly 20 pounds overweight.
Williams skipped the next two days of the voluntary camp, but despite falling behind Erik Coleman and rookie Thomas DeCoud on the depth chart, he was present at every team session before Tuesday.
"I knew it could get to this point, but I wasn't sure it would," Williams told the Daily Press of Newport News, Va. "They've been upset with my weight, but I didn't think the weight thing was a big issue. I thought they were hiding behind that. Other than that, there weren't any real disputes between me and the Falcons."
Williams was deemed expendable despite DUI charges Atlanta police filed last weekend against safety Daren Stone, who was on the field at practice Tuesday.
Stone is listed as the No. 2 strong safety behind Lawyer Milloy.
"There isn't really anything I can say other than I'm disappointed," Smith said. "We're disappointed as an organization. I spoke with Daren and, again, any of those conversations I would like to keep private."
Williams, who has just one interception and 40 tackles in his career, seemed at odds with the Falcons under three coaching staffs. An ankle injury contributed to his struggles as a rookie under former coach Jim Mora Jr., and last year's coach, Bobby Petrino, put him on the inactive list twice for poor play on special teams.
Before mini-camp in May 2007, former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer moved Williams from cornerback to safety, but the switch didn't help.