New Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back DeAngelo Williams is embracing his opportunity to keep playing in the NFL with open arms.
After eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Williams was not re-signed by the team that drafted him in 2006. The Steelers entered the offseason in desperate need of a running back, so they signed him to a two-year, $4 million contract in March.
Williams, who literally found his way around the Steelers’ facility for the first time today, had some enthusiastic things to say about his new home, per Teresa Varley of the team’s official website.
“It’s important for me to be here. If I would have come back when the veterans came back, I would have to learn everybody’s name then. Now I can get a head start early and get an opportunity to learn the guys who are here.”
The Memphis product appears willing to take on any and all responsibilities—a sort of just happy to be here attitude. He said:
“I am excited for every opportunity given, whether it’s as a starting role or backup role. I just want to help be productive and help this team win a championship. I am trying to make the team productive. I am trying to go out and do whatever it takes to win, whether it means blocking, catching, throwing a pass or two – I have been working on the arm a little bit.”
Backtracking to Williams’ comment about it being “important” that he showed up for voluntary workouts, the statement holds a double meaning. Since star running back Le’Veon Bell must serve a three-game suspension at the beginning of the season, having someone like Williams to step onto the field and cover for Bell is extremely valuable.
According to Varley, Williams was mesmerized by the franchise’s tradition, as well as the collection of six Lombardi Trophies. Williams said he’s ready to pursue No. 7:
“Man, it’s unbelievable. Just the atmosphere and the fandom here. I know it has a deep, rich tradition. Six Lombardi trophies, working on our seventh. It’s been a real eye opener. It’s unreal. You can go all over the country, not just the United States, but anywhere in the world there is a Steelers fan.”
The caveat to Williams’ dreams coming true is he needs to stay healthy through practices and the preseason so he can contribute everything as he has promised. For now, Williams can work on learning all of his young teammates’ names while preparing to meet the Steelers’ veterans later next month.
Photo: USA Today Images