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Cadillac Williams to strap on the Helmet and Pads today

Tampa Bay RB Carnell Williams has returned to practice this week after missing over a year of action thanks (to the Carolina Panthers) to a torn patellar tendon in his knee. To be able to practice again is huge, but his real test will come today when he puts on a helmet/pads and takes on the rigors of NFL contact. Here’s Caddy on his return and what to expect from him early on:

Caddy on returning to practice:

"It really feels like my first day, like I’m at a starting point again. It’s big. It’s been a long time, so just getting an opportunity to go out there and see how things go; I’m just excited right now. I haven’t been out there with different guys flying around and running at me. I want to see how I react to that, making guys miss here and there. It’s not just me working with bags and cutting and things like that." - St. Pete Times

Caddy on returning to the field:

"This is the beginning and so the weeks ahead will tell,’’ Williams said. "We’ll see how it goes, how I recover from practice. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to practice today and then they’re going to throw me in there on Sunday and hand me the ball. This is something we’re going to carefully look at, but I don’t have too many issues with [my knee]. To me it’s more in my mind, just to know it’s OK, because I did a lot of work, I’ve put it through a lot. I’m able to do everything [physically] without a problem. Now it’s me overcoming things mentally." - St. Pete Times

Caddy on not having played football for over a year:

I tell a lot of people, you really just kind of feel useless. The team’s here and I’m doing my thing over there, so in a way you really don’t feel like a part of the team, but then again you are. It’s not a good feeling to have. I’ve been going to meetings but now I get to be on the practice field and watch guys fly around. That’s the good part about it." - St. Pete Times

Here’s a couple teammates discussing Caddy’s return to action:

WR Michael Clayton:

"As a good friend of his, we talk every day about the way to go about life, and we talk about [the fact] that you can get hurt at any time. To sustain an injury like that and to go through it mentally, everybody felt for him. But he did what he was supposed to do. He worked hard and he did extra work and got back into it. Just to see a guy rewarded for hard work feels good, and the whole team feels it." - Tampa Tribune.

QB Jeff Garcia:

"It’s just awesome to see Cadillac Williams, who’s a guy who has been through so much in his brief career as far as injury is concerned. He’s a great player with great abilities. He’s worked extremely hard to overcome the injury he sustained last year. I think it’s a great boost, a great lift for this team to see a guy like that come back, and it’s not necessarily even knowing as to what capacity he’ll have on the field with us. But him coming back and being out on the field, I think is a boost for the running back position just from an energy level. Those guys are doing a great job as it is, and (Running Backs Coach) Rich Bisaccia is doing a great job coaching them. But to get a guy who’s been their running mate for the last few years back on the field is a positive thing." - Tampa Tribune.

For the most part it appears the fan base is together in their thinking regarding Cadillac Williams. Everybody wants him back, but only when he’s ready to shoulder the load. If that means sitting out the rest of this season then so be it. His longevity is needed in this franchise more so than the risk he would endure by rushing back for the second half of this season. With that said if he feels he’s ready and Gruden signs off on it by putting him in the line-up, Great! That would suck for Earnest Graham, but at the same time this was Caddy’s team to begin with. Despite what a select few think of Caddy’s past performances, the gist is that he played behind a horrible offensive line and still prospered. For those of you that want to cut ties with Carnell all together, how could you not want to take a wait-and-see approach in order to see what this guy can do behind our good-to now-great offensive line? It’s not like Gruden is going to turn his back on Earnest and Warrick should Caddy experience a lack of success.