Ryan Williams’ unlucky career as an Arizona Cardinal came to an end last week when the team released him.
The move was at the same time both surprising and expected. On one hand, Williams was a second-round pick in 2011 who had shown flashes of being a quality running back. On the other hand, though, he had battled injuries his first two seasons and was inactive for all 16 games in 2013.
Finally, the team decided it was time for both sides to move on from one another. Williams has since signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
It was a quick and disappointing fall for the former Virginia Tech star who was taken with the 38th pick in the draft.
“I think you always want to try to always give the player the benefit of the doubt and try to see the process through,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “He was bit early with the injury bug, then he came back and he was healthy.
“Quite frankly, Bruce and his staff gave him several opportunities last season, and quite frankly, he was outperformed by some of the younger backs on our roster.”
Williams, 24, appeared in just five games for the Cardinals, carrying the ball 58 times for 164 yards. He also caught seven passes for 44 yards.
But from the time he ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee as a rookie in the preseason to the following year when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, he could just never get on track in the desert. He missed a lot of training camp last season and only appeared in one preseason game, which did nothing to endear himself to the new coaching staff.
It also didn’t help that the team signing Rashard Mendenhall and drafted a pair of running backs last season, all of whom saw action instead of Williams.
“You had guys like Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor come in and play as well as they did, and Rashard still had some gas left in the tank,” Keim said. “He just couldn’t get on the field, and really, in my mind, was just outperformed when it was all said and done.”