If new Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams is not already a new fan favorite after having only been a part of the team for a few days in March, then he will be soon. The level of enthusiasm, sincerity, humbleness, and gratitude that he has displayed during his transition from the Carolina Panthers to the Steelers has been, in short, endearing.
It’s no secret to see what head coach Mike Tomlin and the front office liked in Williams. He seemingly has everything that you could want out of a football player in terms of his personality and character, and will no doubt be a fine ambassador for the Steelers brand.
Williams posted a video yesterday on his Twitter page expressing his gratitude to both the Steelers fan base and the Panthers fan base, many of whom have remained loyal to Carolina’s former first-round pick back in 2006. With the short video, he wrote that he has “truly been blow away” by the support that he has received both in Pittsburgh and in Charlotte.
The day before he visited Pittsburgh and signed on the dotted line, he posted another short video of himself exercising with his young daughter. With the video he wrote about hoping to have a new home the following day and having a lot to prove.
Even his smile is infectious, as seen in the picture shared on his page taken after signing his contract, posing with Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert. It’s a smile that shows he clearly loves what he does, much like Antonio Brown.
We have already written about the comments that he gave to the media following his signing, in which he expressed a willingness to do anything to help the team win, including handing out water and shuttling in a towel for the quarterback to dry his hands between plays.
That’s certainly not a bad attitude to bring in to your organization, but it’s one that is essential for the role he is going to be asked to play, serving as Le’Veon Bell’s backup. That could be a rare commodity to find in a former first-round draft pick and Pro Bowler, but clearly this will not be an issue for Williams.
Of course, a winning personality can only take you so far in the eyes of a rabid fan base if you’re not performing on the field. The Steelers also have a bit of a history of bringing in experienced backs in the past who have failed.
Williams is coming off the worst season of his career, the first time in his nine years that he averaged less than four yards per carry. He also had a series of injuries to deal with that limited his playing time as well as efficiency.
Whether or not he proves that last year was an aberration remains to be seen, and after all, what he does on the field is ultimately what will determine the value of this signing. But he’s earned himself some serious cache with the way that he has handled himself through this transition period in the meantime.