Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams is making the rounds at ESPN this week and the veteran made it clear on Wednesday as to who he’s looking forward to playing the most in 2016.
“For me, my rival throughout my year will be the Cincinnati Bengals,” Williams told ESPN, according to Jeremy Fowler. “I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind if AB [Antonio Brown] was not interfered on or hit the way he was hit, however you want to label it — there’s no doubt we go on and give the Broncos hell.”
Williams is of course talking about the hit that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had on Antonio Brown late in the fourth quarter of the AFC Wild Card game that resulted in the wide receiver suffering a concussion that ultimately resulted in him missing the team’s Divisional Round game against the Denver Broncos. It goes without saying that had Brown been able to play against the Broncos that the Steelers chances of advancing to the AFC Championship game would have increased significantly.
Burfict’s hit has resulted in him being suspended by the league for the first three games of the 2016 season. Additionally, the Bengals linebacker managed to knock Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell out for the remainder season with a serious knee injury during the Week 8 meeting between the two teams. Williams also talked on Wednesday about how impactful the loss of Bell was last year.
“Crazy,” Williams said. “When [Bell’s] on the field, we’ve got the potential to do anything and be anything. He’s that dynamic of a player that everybody wants to see and wants to be.”
Bell is currently right in the middle of his injury rehab and the hope is that he’ll be ready for the start of the 2016 season.
As for Williams, who missed both of the Steelers playoff games last year because of a foot injury that suffered in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns, he let it be known on Wednesday that had the team made it to the Super Bowl, he more than likely would have played in the big game.
“I would have played on a nub,” Williams said.
Williams also indicated that he’s been cleared by the Steelers to take part in the team’s offseason workouts, which will begin very soon.
In 2016, Williams will once again be asked to lighten the workload of Bell and especially probably early on in the season. The former first round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers filled in admirably for Bell throughout the 2015 season as he registered 1,274 total yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns on 240 total touches.
Williams is entering the final year of his contract with the Steelers in 2016. As far as his future goes past this season, Williams hinted that he intends on playing past this coming season.
“I want to play until my production drops,” Williams said. “I don’t want to play until my body gives out on me. I’ve got to leave some fuel in the tank because I’ve got three kids and they always want to play and they’re high-energy.”