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Ryan Williams’ rough road ends in Arizona

Posted by Darren Urban on May 12, 2014 – 1:49 pm

When it was over, Ryan Williams played just five games in three seasons for the Cardinals. Injuries torpedoed the running back’s time in Arizona, and in reality, the fact he sat for all 16 games as an inactive last year — including the time when Rashad Mendenhall was hurt — probably showed his days were numbered, especially after a rocky preseason in which he barely practiced. That scenario did not go over well. Exactly how everything played out may not ever be known, but it was probably time for the Cards to move on and for Williams to see where else he might get a chance.

The Cardinals have Andre Ellington as a starter. They have inside bangers like Jonathan Dwyer and Stepfan Taylor, and both of the undrafted running backs that are reportedly coming (the official list is due out this afternoon) were productive in college in UNLV’s Tim Cornett and NAU’s Zach Bauman. Williams, behind Ellington, was going to have a hard time getting on the field.

It’s a rough time to be hitting the market, of course. Running backs aren’t very highly valued. Running backs coming available after the draft are even less so, since teams have filled up their 90-man rosters. Add in Williams’ injury history, and it is going to be a hard road. Maybe Ken Whisenhunt reaches out for him in Tennessee. I’m sure Williams would love to land in the NFC West to go against the Cards, although all three teams have full backfields. I will say I hope Williams finds a spot. On a personal level, he was a good kid with horrible luck. It’s tough not to root for him.


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Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »


27 Responses to “Ryan Williams’ rough road ends in Arizona”

  1. By Brett n Co. on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Good luck Williams! To bad injuries plague your career here in Zona. Nice kid but I do recall and article last year he stated he was a little gun shy of getting hit. Too bad I thought he could have worked out

  2. By Nick Pepe on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    It is a shame that he was injury prone. I know many people are already saying this was a horrible pick. I disagree. I will call it an unfortunate pick. Who knows what this young man could have done had he stayed healthy. He handled himself with class and dignity the entire time, as do most Arizona Cardinals. A trait that I am proud of as a fan. I hope he finds a gig somewhere.

    It’s incredible how fragile the RB position is anymore. I’m not sure why, but it seems that the RB’s of yesteryear lasted forever. Chuck Foreman, Robert Newhouse, Riggins, Payton, Sanders et all …. We never heard about the 2 year and outs or “one and dones” back then. Of course we didn’t have all the gadgets, media outlets and “experts we so know

    I guess that says as much about the transition in the RB position in the NFL these days as it does media blitz.

    Good luck Ryan Williams

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  3. By Brian on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Totally agree with your last two sentences Darren! Really sad to see what this injury did to Ryan’s career. I remember the buzz about him during camp his rookie year, not just from the coaches but from the players as well. I really respect his attitude towards facing/overcoming adversity and wish him nothing but the best!

  4. By xBIGxMx on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Not surprised, I dont’t hate the guy but I’m not sad he was cut. I wish him the very best. Go CARDS!!!

  5. By LadyBird04 on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    My “conspiracy theory” is that Keim wanted to keep him – Arians didn’t – we kept him and Arians as Head Coach didn’t even dress him for one game. Too bad they took this long to let him go – he might have been able to do something in free agency. Good luck to a good kid.

  6. By azqfan on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    A ton of potential, just could never stay healthy, good luck to him

  7. By Rich on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Yes Ryan, there were reasons. You can’t block, you don’t play special teams, you can’t stay healthy. Nice guy, good runner, not enough. Best of luck next team.

  8. By Andy Kw on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Good luck where ever you go. Tennessee Titans might pick you up to reunite with Ken Whisenhunt. When you are 100% healthy, you can do amazing things. But for now, you need to practice more, eat & be healthy, and be patient with yourself. I would love to see how you impact other teams.

  9. By Scott on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Sad to see him go, I would of liked to watch him actually play a game healthy…

  10. By Axael Lugo on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    All i would like to say is hope Williams become and awesome player that we all saw he can be!!!! wish him well where ever he goes, he is still young and healthy now hope Ryan Williams becomes an amazing running back in the NFL

  11. By Infitzwetrust on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    I don’t know what it was with this kid, but for some reason — obviously it wasn’t on field production — he was a player that a lot of people had high hopes for, even after both injuries. I’ve seen so many guy get the chopping block quicker than williams; maybe the coaching staff change bought him extra time, but ultimately this had to be done. This one just feels a little different.

  12. By clssylssy on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Williams wouldn’t be the first to fall victim to organizational politics and then find success with another team. Good luck Ryan, stay healthy and thanks for wearing Cardinal red. Kinda agree with LadyBird04 ,but that’s life in the NFL.

  13. By Cactus jeff on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    I said this after injury, a torn patellar tendon requires several weeks non-weight bearing. It really hurts the fast twitch explosive athlete. They don’t return to normal abilities. See Amare Stoudemire after micro fracture surgery.
    Look at how long they are non-weight bearing and that is clue to how they recover.

  14. By grabling on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Another draft mistake!

  15. By Dr. G. on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    I may be wrong, but there seemed some fishy odor to this thing with Ryan after the new coaching team arrived. Just as with the DC, BA had to do things his way in order to feel comfortable with his program. Coming off a severe injury, Ryan was probably not able to run through the fire wall for BA, so he ended up in the dog house early on and never got out…

    Keim may have wanted to keep him on the payroll despite the coach’s feelings just to see how he would develop. I still do not understand why he wasn’t cut earlier or place on the field… Beanie’s situation was handled directly, as this one maybe could have be handled also… Never know now, ‘cuz Ryan won’t say anything just in case he may be able to play again…. ???

  16. By Coach K on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Now you know why professional athletes get paid so much. It is just that easy to get hurt and next thing you know, you are selling insurance, or writing poetry in early retirement. Too bad for Ryan. He showed flashes of what he could have been a couple years ago. He was an amazing running back. Best of success to him.

  17. By steve on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    He came into the league with the reputation of being a good but injury-prone RB, I am not surprised he didn’t work out, but wish him the best.

  18. By rufus on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    I agree with the other comments that Williams should never have been drafted given his injury history in college. Hindsight is 20/20. Now all the old regime’s RBs are gone.

  19. By Lifetime Fan on May 12, 2014 | Reply

    Bad release imo, His shiftyness and explosiveness will be missed when Andre goes down for a game or two. i think they should have kept him around for at least the last year of his rookie deal, and let the man play special teams!!

  20. By rick on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    Best of luck, Ryan. You were great in training camp as a rookie. I even used 34Beast as a user name during that time. Injuries took their toll. When you land another job, show them how great you are!

    He was not a draft mistake – just had very unfortnate injuries. The tackle that pulled his knee cap up into his thigh – looked like a normal tackle. Bad Luck.

    We’ll all be pulling for you Ryan

  21. By Brad on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    Sad to see him go but I’m glad we’re not paying someone millions to stand on the sidelines in street clothes. Best of luck though Ryan!!

  22. By cardsalltheway on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    We “…have inside bangers like Jonathan Dwyer and Stepfan Taylor”

    Yikes, if that’s all we got for bangers.

    We can forget about former NAU’s Zach Bauman as a “banger” and this is former UNLV’s Tim Cornett who looks pretty good and I have a sneaky suspicion he’ll be needed this year(if he can survive pre-season?).

  23. By Eric G on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    About time. I feel bad for the kid, rough luck with the injuries, but that’s the risk of pro athletes. He wasn’t playing and likely wouldn’t play much ever again. I do hope he lands somewhere else, but I’m glad he isn’t eating up a roster spot anymore.

  24. By Chuck 1 on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe,

    Continuing our “discussion” from a previous post:

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree regarding how Keim prepares his draft board of 120 players and conducts his drafts.

    We had a conversation similar to this a year ago regarding drafting based on BPA vs.Needs, although my current thoughts are amplifications of those from last year.

    As several posters have mentioned, it appears that Keim’s stated strategy of going BPA was modified and he ended up going more for “NEED”.

    I don’t understand why my proposal would cause the Cards to “reach” as you stated. However, …………….

  25. By Mike Ellingboe on May 13, 2014 | Reply

    Chuck 1,

    I know there are those who think he drafted for need this year, but I don’t see it. Was Thomas a reach? Maybe, although Keim and Arians sounded convinced that he was about to go off the board. Was he a need? Not at all. They drafted him to compete with Lindley. That’s the furthest thing from a need I can think of. I’d say they treated that more like a luxury pick. I’ll grant you that if we tear down all picks we could say they’re a need, but without completely twisting the concept of BPA vs need I don’t see this group in that light at all.

    I get your idea, but the reason it would encourage reaching is you’re going in with the idea that you’re looking for a specific position by ranking everyone that way. If you rank them 1-120, regardless of position, the idea of taking guy 100 over guy 50 shouldn’t enter the conversation. But as always, I enjoy the conversation, and find it incredibly boring to only have discussions with those I agree with.

  26. By Big Ken on May 14, 2014 | Reply

    Kind of glad he’s gone we aren’t going to see anymore posts about him, positive or negative.

  27. By Big Ken on May 15, 2014 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway-don’t sell Bauman short! I’m excited about both of these guys, Bauman and Cornett.

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