Running back Ryan Williams was sitting on the sideline for the better part of three quarters Saturday, itching to get in the preseason game against the Ravens and show everybody he could still play after sitting out last season.
When he did get it in Williams flourished with five carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. Nothing felt better than a 27-yard tackle-breaking run in which he bulldozed a defender and made him feel his pain.
“Man, look I was waiting on the sideline for three quarters somebody was going to feel that,” said a giddy Williams in the postgame locker room. “I ran hard man. I ran hard. I was happy I did. It’s hard to tell what you can really do until the lights some on. I love the lights man. I love getting the crowd into it. I love getting the team into it. I was great. Words cant explain how I feel right now. I really needed that play.”
Williams had a solid outing against the San Diego Chargers in the preseason opener last week. But it was his play against the Ravens that allowed to show himself and everyone else he still had some of the special things that made him the Arizona Cardinals’ second-round pick in 2011.
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“He helped himself ... no question about that,” coach Jason Garrett said of Williams chances of making the team. “He’s a good run. He and I have had some conversations over the course of training camp. Some guys need to get the weight of the world off their should and just go play with a passion and spirit. He certainly did that. We saw him break tackles, run over guys and just play with that elusiveness that we saw in him coming out of school. It was good to see that.”
The Cowboys are seeing it because Williams is finally healthy for the first time since his college days at Virginia Tech.
Injuries cut short his rookie season in the second preseason game when he suffered a torn patella tendon in his knee. He was sidelined in 2012 because of a shoulder injury and he didn’t get any snaps in 2013.
Williams thinks the team away allowed him to fully heal from the torn patella, paving the way for a possible return to form he thought might not ever happen.
“Long ain’t the word,” Williams said when asked about his long road back “I ain’t never think I would be back here making plays like that again. I worked my tail off. It’s a blessing. I was blessed to come back from the injury I came back from. I’m still work. I’m still grinding. I’m trying to get back to the top like I did in 2011.”