Cadillac's Road to Recovery

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 16, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 8:  Running back Cadillac Williams #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 8, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

One of the feel-good stories from week 1 was the return of Bucs’ running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Not only did Cadillac return this past Sunday, but he returned with an extremely productive game. Cadillac ran hard, as he picked up 97 yards on just 13 carries and scored a touchdown. His 7.5 yards per carry ranked first in the NFL in week 1 for running backs who got the most carries for their team.

After being selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, Cadillac had a wonderful rookie campaign. In hisrookie season, Cadillac racked up 1,178 rushing yards and received the Rookie of the Year award. Things were looking up for the fresh, young running back out of Auburn. From that season on, though, Cadillac saw his production drop off considerably. Between a disappointing 2006 season, in which he had less than 800 yards, and an injury-plagued 2007 and 2008, Cadillac looked like he would never run effectively in the NFL ever again. Injuries just seemed to be following him, and his long-time dream of playing in the NFL was quickly turning out to be a nightmare.

But Cadillac remained positive, and he rehabbed until he was again healthy in time for the 2009 training camp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cadillac appeared to be fully healthy for the first time in a long time, and he was ready to begin running again for the Bucs. Then came the realization that the Bucs just picked up Derrick Ward from the New York Giants, in addition to having a formidable running back in Earnest Graham already on the roster.

Again Cadillac faced the adversity head on, and he accepted the challenge as an opportunity to grow. Sure enough, Cadillac impressed the coaches so much during the summer that they decided to name him the starting running back for the opening game against Dallas. There he had his wonderful 97-yard performance , and he proved, yet again, that he would not back down from a challenge. With his positive, never-say-die attitude, Cadillac Williams is definitely an inspiration to all that have followed his career up to this point, and I am sure that all of his hard work will pay off in the future.