Former Panthers and Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams is one-and-done in the wrestling ring and plans to play football in 2017.
Williams told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on a podcast that he once promised a late uncle that he would appear in a wrestling match. He fulfilled that promise when he took part in Slammiversary XV, and had a “hold my beer” moment when he jumped from the top of the ropes and tried to land on top of a competitor who was on a folding table. Williams’ head ended up hitting the mat, but he avoided injury.
His uncle must have been watching over him.
Williams is ready to call it a career as a wrestler, but not as a running back.
“I’m definitely playing football,” Williams said. “I’ll be ready. You can rest assured of that. I work out every day. I keep in shape because I know once that phone call comes — when it comes, not if — I’ll be ready to step up and deliver.”
Williams ran for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015, starting 10 games in place of Le’Veon Bell, who was suspended for the first two games of the season and injured in Week 8. Williams filled in for a suspended Bell again for the first three games of last season, gaining 143 of his 343 yards in a Week 1 win at Washington. He averaged 2.77 yards per carry for the rest of the season. Then when Bell could no longer go in the AFC championship game, Williams ran for 34 yards on 14 carries in the Steelers’ 36-17 loss to the Patriots.
The 34-year-old Williams also missed time last season with a knee injury and his best days appear to be behind him.
Williams could provide depth on a roster, but if he’s asked to start at this point in his career he could faceplant the same way he did in the ring.