Carnell “Cadillac” Williams will not be wearing red and pewter this season. The Rams have signed him for one year, to compliment Steven Jackson and Jerious Norwood in their running game. The former 5th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, reached the highest and lowest points any running back could ever face in their career.
During his rookie season, he set an NFL record by rushing for 434 yards in his first 3 games. That year, he also won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The following season wasn’t as rewarding for Williams, but that could have been due to a nagging injury and poor offensive line play. Early in the following season, Cadillac suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, ending his season and requiring surgery. Doctors who aided in his recovery didn’t expect Williams to return to playing football, but he proved them wrong.
He returned late in the following season and started to show signs of improvement. During the season ending game versus the Oakland Raiders, Williams suffered the same injury to the opposite knee. At that point it was certain his career was over, however, Williams again returned to the NFL and had an impressive season. The Buccaneers signed Derrick Ward, who was the best free agent running back in free agency that year, and still saw Cadillac emerge as the starter. At the end of that season, he was considered alongside Tom Brady for the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year Award. Of course Brady won, which really upset me. I thought Cadillac really deserved that award. Last season, he finished with 125 carries for 437 yards, averaged 3.5 yards per carry, and 2 touchdowns. As Williams continued to decline, LeGarrette Blount emerged as the new starter at the running back position. Although he was only averaging a depressing 3.5 yards per carry, he still was extremely valuable to Josh Freeman and the offense in pass protection. During recent practices, there has been some report of Blount practicing more on pass protection and receiving, but it will take a lot more than the short time this offseason has offered to be as reliable as Williams was in protecting the quarterback.
Caddy will be sorely missed and always remembered as being more than just a football player, but an inspiration. I hope to see him succeed in St. Louis, although I doubt he will see the field often. During the Buc’s training camp, Earnest Graham seems to be the favorite to back up Blount. There is still some rising competition in Kregg Lumpkin, Allen Bradford, and Mossis Madu.
I’ve noticed Coach Morris mention Madu’s name several times. Here’s a link to an article that will tell you more about him. http://thepewterplank.com/2011/07/28/a-change-of-pace-mossis-madu/