DENVER (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a bid by Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to overturn a six-game drug suspension by the NFL.
Williams' attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said Williams would appeal, with training camp right around the corner.
"It's a huge blow to him. It's very upsetting," Ginsberg said.
Williams contended the league violated protocol in collecting urine samples from him in August. U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello dismissed the complaint, essentially backing an arbitrator who had upheld the suspension. Arguello rejected arguments that the arbitrator exceeded his power, engaged in misconduct, disregarded the law, or was biased.
Williams and former Broncos defensive lineman Ryan McBean sued the NFL in March after the league suspended them without pay for the first six games of the 2012 season. McBean has since dropped out of the case and is now with the Baltimore Ravens.
The NFL alleged that urine samples the players provided to an NFL specimen collector for testing last August weren't from a human.
Ginsberg argued that the specimen collector watched Williams void directly into the specimen bottle.
The players said the league violated protocol in collecting the samples and refused to clear the players, even after the collector was fired.
Ginsberg contends the NFL didn't abide by its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement, in terms of documentation needed to justify the suspension.
The NFL declined to comment on the ruling.
Williams, Denver's leading tackler in four of the last five seasons, also faces trial on a drunken driving charge in August.
The Broncos stripped him of his captain's title shortly after his arrest on Nov. 12, 2010, his second such arrest in his seven seasons in Denver. Police say he was pulled over a little before 3 a.m. when he was spotted driving his car without headlights. He was cited with DUI and taken to a detox facility.
Williams was fined an undisclosed amount by the team.
Earlier this month, Williams was blasted on social media for what some considered a breach of protocol in the super-secretive world of the NFL after he tweeted a photo of his high-tech playbook that showed six defensive formations or variations of the same formation. His teammates rallied around him, saying it would be nearly impossible for opponents to capitalize on Williams' tweet.