Montell Owens

Bears Put D.J. Williams On IR, Sign Montell Owens

In advance of Monday night’s game against the Saints, the Bears have made a change to their 53-man roster, placing veteran linebacker D.J. Williams on the injured reserve list and signing fullback Montell Owens to replace him, the team announced today (Twitter link).

Williams, whose season is over due to a neck injury, was the Bears’ primary middle linebacker this season, starting 12 games and appearing in 417 defensive snaps for the team. While he was solid for most of the year, he had his worst game of the season in Week 14, according to Pro Football Focus’ ratings (subscription required). Williams’ shaky run defense against the Cowboys earned him a -4.1 grade for the game, bringing his grade for the season down to -6.8.

As for Owens, the veteran fullback was released from the Lions’ injured reserve list earlier this week, having deemed fully healthy, and it didn’t take him long to find a new job. A two-time Pro Bowler as a special teamer with the Jaguars, Owens has 56 career carries for 292 yards and three touchdowns, but will likely play a complementary role on special teams – and perhaps offense – in Chicago.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

We’ve already rounded up several of the day’s more notable transactions in posts of their own, but we’ll use this space to keep tabs on the 53-man roster moves that may have slipped under the radar. Here’s the latest:

  • The Panthers have cut quarterback Matt Blanchard from injured reserve, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Free agent linebacker Rob Ruggiero has been suspended for four weeks by the league, per Wilson (Twitter link) — no word on what led to the ban.

Earlier updates:

  • The Raiders have cut linebacker Jamar Chaney, according to Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune. The club hasn’t yet filled Cheney’s roster spot, but McDonald surmises that receiver Rod Streater, currently on IR-DTR, could soon be added to the 53-man.
  • Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s loss to the Giants, has been placed on the injured reserve list by the Titans, says Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (via Twitter). According to Wyatt (via Twitter), the team has filled the newly-opened spot on its roster by signing free agent offensive lineman Jamon Meredith, who was cut by the Bengals a week ago.
  • The Lions officially removed running back Montell Owens from their roster today, releasing him from IR, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Unless the two sides reached an injury settlement, the move suggests that Owens is now fully healthy.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

In addition to making changes to their practice squads, teams around the NFL are also tweaking the backs of their 53-man rosters today. We’ll round up the day’s minor transactions involving active rosters right here:

  • To make room for Winn, the Lions have placed running back Montell Owens on injured reserve, tweets Tim Twentyman of Owens’ contract expires after this season.
  • After he tore ruptured Achilles last week, running back Joe McKnight has been placed on the Chiefs’ injured reserve list, according to Adam Teicher of (via Twitter). Offensive lineman Donald Stephenson‘s four-game suspension is up, so he takes McKnight’s roster spot, per Howard Balzer (Twitter link).
  • The Bears have waived linebacker Terrell Manning, reports Brian McIntyre (Twitter link). Chicago had promoted Manning from its practice squad just over a week ago.
  • Patriots Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms four-game bans are over, and both have received a roster exemption that lasts until October 6, says Balzer (on Twitter).
  • Cornerback Deion Belue was waived from the Jaguars’ injured reserve with a failure to disclose physical condition designation, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Earlier updates:

  • The Lions are promoting running back George Winn from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). As Garafolo notes, the move could suggest that the team expects Joique Bell to miss this weekend’s game, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points out that Bell isn’t Detroit’s only ailing running back, tweeting that Montell Owens is expected to miss several weeks due to his latest hamstring injury.
  • Linebacker Victor Butler has been dropped by the Cardinals, says Darren Urban of (via Twitter). Butler had been added to the roster when John Abraham was sidelined, but didn’t play a snap for the team.
  • The Bears‘ practice squad/53-man roster shuffle continues this week, with the team promoting wideout Chris Williams to take the place of fellow receiver Rashad Ross (Twitter link). Two weeks ago, it was Ross being promoted and Williams being cut.
  • The Steelers have terminated the contract of punter Adam Podlesh, who had been on the team’s reserve/did not report list, tweets Adam Caplan of