Hey guys, I wrote this article for my website over at Skinnypost.com and I wanted to get some honest insight from Bucs fans about you feel about it. I would really appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have. Thanks so much.
In 2005, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the 5th selection in the NFL Draft. They used that pick on a Running Back out of Auburn by the name of Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Coach Jon Gruden had high hopes for the young man as he quickly earned the starter’s role. In the first half of the season, Williams had an up and down start. After the first three weeks of his pro career Canton came calling for his shoes and gloves as the rookie running back became the first player in NFL history to start a career with three consecutive 100-yard perfomances. In addition, his 434 yards rushing were the most ever during that span, surpassing Alan Ameche who had 410 yards for the Baltimore Colts back in 1955. Williams looked like the gem of the draft. Then the injury bug bit. He suffered from ankle and foot injuries that effected his production. Over the next 4 weeks, Williams played through the pain but ran for only 13,20,29 and 20 yards during that span. When his wheels began to improve so did his numbers. In week 8 he rushed for 116 yards then saw his second highest total of the year in Week 15 against Atlanta rushing for 150 yards. Williams went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award where he finished the season with 1178 yards and 6 TD’s. The future looked bright.
In 2006, Carnell’s nagging injuries and questionable line play led to him rushing for only 798 yards in 14 games as he strived to get better.
Then in 2007, Williams started the 1st 4 games of the year when disaster struck. Carnell tore his Patellar Tendon to his left knee which required surgery and finished him for the year. At the time, doctors thought that Williams may never play again due to the severity of the injury. In Cadillac’s mind, there was no doubt he would be back on the field in 2008.
After 14 months of rehab and hard work, Williams was taken off the PUP list and returned to action on November 23rd against the Detroit Lions. In limited action, Williams rushed for 233 yards on 63 carries. Then against Oakland in the final week of the season, disaster struck again as Williams tore the Patellar Tendon in his right knee. He was determined as ever to get back on the field and Williams worked hard all offseason to be ready for the 2009 opener.
Let’s flashback -
The young man from Gadsden, Alabama had overcome injuries in his past. In 2002 in a collegiate game against Florida he broke his Fibula which caused him to miss the final 6 games of the season. Perhaps that experience showed Cadillac that he can overcome injury because in 2003 when Ronnie Brown went down with an injury, Williams shouldered the load and set a season single record with 17 touchdowns. He finished the ‘03 season at Auburn with 1307 yards on 241 attempts.
Presently, Cadillac Williams finds himself atop the depth chart as he was named the starter for the season opener. He rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries and added a Touchdown as he displayed the burst and power that he once had.
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams has the type of grit and determination that is to be admired. Suffering broken bones and torn tendons has to be tough on a man who uses his legs to earn a living. As long he keeps trying and pushing to get better, we’ll be rooting him on.
Hat’s off to Cadillac Williams!