It must have been tough for Ryan Williams to admit that, but it made for a great piece written by Scott Bordow of AZCentral Sports. Williams missed his entire 2011 rookie season with a ruptured right patellar tendon. He was physically ready to return in 2012, but mentally, it was a different story.
On Sept. 16, Williams' Cardinals were playing the Patriots. On a toss play out to the right, Williams saw linebacker Brandon Spikes darting right for him. He was so concerned about his knee, he "curled up and forgot about the ball.
"It's a scary sight being a running back and being scared to run the ball," Williams said. "That's something that no running back should feel. I was pretty much scared all last year to get the ball in my hands."
Three weeks later against the Rams, Williams suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that he considered a "blessing," because it gave him the time he needed to become comfortable with his right knee. Now, he is finally feeling like himself.
"This is the healthiest I've felt in the past two years," Williams said. "If feels good to be able to run like myself, instinctive and not having to think about what I'm doing, just going out and doing it. "I've been working real hard, so things are looking good. My stars are aligned this year."
I'll be rooting for Williams to succeed, but it may be too late for him with the Cardinals. Scared or not, he averaged just 2.8 yards per carry last year, and we don't know how much ability he lost because of that torn patellar tendon. Although he fits head coach Bruce Arians' desire for a lead, three-down back, Williams will have to earn his carries. Arizona signed Rashard Mendenhall during the offseason and then drafted two running backs, Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor . That quartet will make for a really interesting training camp competition to watch. Williams is just a late-round pick right now.