Pittsburgh Steelers veteran running back DeAngelo Williams is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent during the offseason and one former NFL running back believes the 33-year-old still has at least one more season left in him.
“What I’ve seen so far, I have no reason to doubt whether he can still perform,” former NFL running back Terrell Davis said Sunday of Williams on NFL Total Access. “We’ve seen that. When Le’Veon Bell went out and was suspended, this guy stepped up and played well. So, I think he takes care of his body, he’s motivated and when you talk to him, he’s inspired. So, yeah, I think he can give some team enough juice to continue his career.
“I don’t see him falling off a cliff. Normally you see backs at that age and they just fall off a cliff. I think the one thing that helps him is that he’s not as starter, he’s not an every-down back and he’s able to preserve a little bit of his talent. So, yeah, I think he can go somewhere and still be highly productive.”
Judging by a tweet that Williams sent to Davis on Sunday in response to his Sunday comments, the running back appears to be open to playing in 2017.
“I need a ring to punctuate my career!!,” Williams tweeted to Davis.
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) January 30, 2017
Williams, who rushed for 343 yards and 4 touchdowns on 98 carries during the 2016 regular season, started the first three games for the Steelers while Le’Veon Bell served his three-game suspension. The Steelers went 2-1 in those three games with Williams rushing for 258 yards and two scores in addition to catching 14 passes for another 89 yards and a score. While a knee injury ultimately sidelined Williams for six games later in the season, he ultimately returned to action for the Steelers regular season and all three playoff games.
With it now looking like Williams is willing to play a 12th season, it will be interesting to see if he’s ultimately re-signed by the Steelers to be Bell’s backup once again in 2017. When you consider that he’s still looking for a ring to punctuate his career, re-signing with Pittsburgh might be his best shot at achieving that goal.
During his end-of-the-season press conference last Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gave every indication that he would be open to having Williams back in Pittsburgh for a third season.
“We’ll assess it and see if the two sides can come together and do business again,” Tomlin said of Williams’ forthcoming free agent status. “I know that is was a pleasant experience, the two years that he’s been a part of this.”
The Steelers could still address the running back position at some point during the draft in addition to re-signing Williams to address their long-term depth at the position.