P.J. Williams mug

P.J. Williams mug shot

Three days after his team's season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Saints cornerback P.J. Williams was arrested for drunk driving in New Orleans early Wednesday.

Officers on the Crescent City Connection said they clocked Williams, 25, driving at 80 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone. He also used a traffic lane improperly and failed to signal a turn, New Orleans police said.

He was pulled over at Camp Street and Andrew Higgins Boulevard, near the National World War II Museum, but refused to take a Breathalyzer test, police said. Officers then arrested and booked Williams into the jail on counts of drunken and careless driving about 1:10 a.m., records show.

He was released on his own recognizance after about three hours. 

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday he was aware of Williams' arrest but had no comment.

In Louisiana, refusing a Breathalyzer test can support probable cause for a drunken driving arrest, and it will also leave the motorist facing a temporary license suspension.

Drunken driving convictions can result in probation, a fine or — in some cases — jail time. 

This is not the first time Williams, whose first name is Kenneth, has been suspected of drunken or reckless driving. 

In April 2015, after finishing his college football career, police arrested him in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence. Prosecutors later dropped the case. 

He also crashed his car into another vehicle in Florida in October 2014 and left the scene of the wreck before returning some 20 minutes later, according to a report in the New York Times. Police decided not to book him with a hit-and-run offense and instead issued him a traffic ticket. 

After declaring for the NFL draft in 2015, Williams spent weeks meeting with NFL teams in hopes of relieving any character concerns they may have had as a result of the incidents.

But his stock seemed to drop as a prospect. Experts had projected he would be drafted late in the first round or early in the second, but he wasn't picked until the third round by the Saints.

Prior to going pro, Williams played at Florida State and helped the Seminoles win a national championship. 

He’s been a regular in the Saints' defensive backfield the past two years, intercepting three passes as New Orleans reached the postseason’s divisional round in 2017 and the NFC title game this season.

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Saints cornerback P.J. Williams celebrates their first quarter interception in the NFC Championship game in New Orleans between the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

Perhaps his most memorable play this campaign was picking off Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in Week 8 and running the ball back for a touchdown to all but secure a 30-20 victory in Minnesota, partially avenging the Saints' painful, last-second playoff defeat there the previous season.

He also helped force a key fumble in that game which the Saints recovered to turn the tide of the contest.

On Sunday, Williams recorded seven tackles and broke up one pass in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the Saints lost the NFC championship — and a Super Bowl berth — to the Rams on an overtime field goal.

The overtime period occurred after referees failed to call an obvious pass interference penalty on the Rams deep in their territory with less than two minutes left in regulation time of a tied game. That penalty likely would've allowed the Saints to score and take a lead while leaving almost no time for the Rams to respond. 

Williams' contract with the Saints expires this offseason. Unless he signs a new deal with New Orleans, he will become a free agent. Wednesday's arrest could affect his market in free agency. 


Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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