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The Mike Williams Situation and Its Slew of Ramifications

New city, same old Chargers. How many times are we gonna say that in the coming months?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Mike Williams Press Conference Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a theory in quantum physics that time is immutable. It’s like a river – you can throw a pebble in and create a ripple, but the current always corrects itself. No matter what you do the river just keeps flowing in the same direction.

I’d like to pretend I’m smart and all by taking claim for the above quote, but I know most moviegoers would catch my clear plagiarism of a recent blockbuster film. Regardless, I feel like Nicholas Hoult’s Hank McCoy and his nifty piece of dialogue ring especially true when talking all things lightning bolts, albeit trading out ‘time’ for ‘Chargers’.

The Bolts are the everlasting river, carved into some godforsaken valley since the days of Lance Alworth and Co. stomping around the AFL landscape. Sure, every once in a while, we can skip a Junior Seau or LaDainian Tomlinson from its banks. But all those ripples never seem capable of reversing the flow, as the muck of Chargers River keeps bogging the franchise down, both literally and metaphorically.

In other words, to quote a great poet by the name of Tupac Shakur, “Some things will never change.”

The inevitable news of the Chargers finally sticking it to San Diego and moving shop was a crappy way to start the offseason. It stunk for every single fan of the team, myself included.

Nevertheless, with a bevy of moves coming during free agency and via the draft, things were looking up. Like, not just pointless-offseason-fodder-looking-up; should the offensive line finally resemble something competent, the roster is—at bare minimum—solid throughout every position group. Credit Tom Telesco for that.

The team is even starting to get more preseason hype pieces than usual. Like this. And this. Credit the move to Los Angeles for that.

Therefore, the flurry of news regarding Mike Williams in recent days couldn’t have been a crueler return to the norm, a correction of the river. As you’ve probably heard, conflicting reports are out there regarding the extent of the rookie’s injury. Schefter says Williams might need season-ending back surgery, while Rappaport predicts he’ll be starting camp on the PUP list. To his credit, the receiver himself came out and said all signs were go regarding his rookie campaign, even though it’s hard to interpret receiving two separate epidurals in recent weeks as ‘good’.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Every time I write about Tommy Telesco, I write the same thing: I’m generally a fan of his work. I sure as heck was a fan of his 2017 draft after the GM selected Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in subsequent rounds. I didn’t like the Williams pick, but I followed the logic behind what I deemed to be a luxury pick when Telesco came out and prioritized the offensive line.

Now it’s starting to look like TT and his scouts didn’t do their homework on the #7 overall pick because I have a hard time believing he injured his back on the first day of workouts like the team reported. If Mike Williams concealed the injury so well that the front office missed it, I got three things to say: (1) congrats to him for getting his guaranteed money, (2) he should be an agent someday, and (3) all the people in the front office should be immediately put on the hot seat.

It’s easy to just look the other way and write something like this off, but Top Ten picks are extremely valuable commodities in a sport like the NFL where the salary cap dominates. Bull-crap like this is the exact way in which bad teams stay bad. Should Williams end up needing back surgery, not only will that premium pick miss his rookie year, he will be recovering from two major injuries before he even steps foot on a football field.

As it currently stands, the Chargers have a convincing bunch of receivers. Hunter Henry and Tyrell Williams are the real deal, Antonio Gates still has something to contribute, and I firmly believe Travis Benjamin will bounce back. This group becomes absolutely lethal if Keenan Allen plays a full slate of games.

But wasn’t that the whole logic of picking Mike Williams? To act as insurance for the team’s Number One should he go down again? I don’t know about you, but if I believed I was prone to accidents, I wouldn’t want to buy insurance that may or may not come into play sometime in the distant future.

For Telesco’s sake, let’s hope the two rookie offensive lineman turn into studs. Otherwise, the Bolts’ GM could be following his good buddy Mike McCoy out the door just one year later.