Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regret Not Re-Signing Cadillac Williams?

Basil SpyridakosContributor IIIAugust 4, 2011

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 29:  Cadillac Williams #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stiff arms Erik Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Cadillac Williams didn't want to be mediocre. 

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back repeated over and over again how he aimed for greatness.

Williams showed flashes of brilliance his rookie season by running hard and with resolve, and even got his cleats and gloves enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio for his 434 rushing yards in his first thee games, which is the most by a rookie since 1955. 

But an injury-ridden career derailed any opportunity for Williams to be considered among the elite.

Still, Williams was a consummate professional and did everything in his power to support the Buccaneers in winning football games.

He even accepted a backup role to allow LeGarrette Blount more playing time.

Williams had to do what was best for him, so he has moved on and will now suit up for the St. Louis Rams.

This is a move the Buccaneers organization may regret.

Williams displayed exemplary leadership on a young offense during the 2010-11 season, and took the role of assisting quarterback Josh Freeman.

During audibles and line changes, it was Williams, along with the young Freeman, that shouted out the cadences and shifted the protection of the offensive line.

Williams himself was a tenacious pass-blocker and was often in the backfield with Freeman during the majority of passing downs. Not to take anything away from Blount, but he's not as good a blocker as Williams.

Can Blount be trusted to protect Tampa Bay's franchise quarterback?

What about the passing game? Williams is an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield and masterfully sets up screens.

His skills and vision to run draw plays, his role to allow Blount a breather, his accountability for being a veteran leader on the sideline, the list goes on and on.

The Buccaneer organization must have a ton of faith in running back Earnest Graham as the all-purpose, change-of-pace back to allow Williams to walk, especially since they didn't bother to contact free agents like Ronnie Brown or Ahmad Bradshaw.

Other than Blount or Graham, no other running back has more than four touches in a season, and three of the Buccaneers running backs in training camp are rookies.

That kind of inexperience ought to scare Tampa Bay fans.

Williams' humility, versatility and respectability will be missed in more ways than one.