Steelers’ Williams has no empathy for Patriots
After a season in which DeAngelo Williams injured his foot two quarters before the start of the playoffs and was relegated to watching the banged-up Steelers come within minutes of the AFC championship game, it’s difficult for the veteran running back to feel sorry about any player or any team these days.
And that especially includes Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
“I am glad they got problems. I don’t care,” Williams on Tuesday told the Tribune-Review. “Everybody has their problems, and I am glad they have theirs.”
Brady decided last week to end his year-long fight against his four-game suspension handed down as part of the punishment stemming from Deflategate.
The trickle-down effect of Jimmy Garoppolo starting might compromise the Patriots’ run of consecutive division titles, and it is expected to tighten the gap between the Patriots and the rest of the AFC, including the Steelers.
The Patriots remain the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl even after Brady’s suspension, according to Bovada. However, a month without arguably the NFL’s best quarterback could make the Steelers’ path back to the Super Bowl a little less rocky.
Williams — a 10-year veteran who repeatedly has said winning a championship is more important than anything else — isn’t buying Brady’s loss benefitting the Steelers.
“I don’t know why everybody thinks that affects us,” Williams said. “We don’t care. You think Big Ben wants to beat a Brady-less team? That proves nothing to him.”
Williams on Tuesday took part in an NFL youth Camp at Robert Morris Island Sports Center where he helped instruct 300 kids ages 7-13 on safe football drills.
It was one of the final offseason events for Williams as the Steelers report to training camp at St. Vincent on July 28. Williams, the second-oldest running back in the league, isn’t looking forward to the four weeks in Latrobe.
“I’ve always said it: I hate training camp,” Williams said. “It’s not comfortable. We are in college dorms. We are not at home, not with our families, nothing. They take you out of your comfort zone and put you in an uncomfortable situation.”
The Steelers have gone away to training camp every year since 1933, including the past 51 at St. Vincent. However, the Steelers are one of 13 teams that still hold training camp at a remote location.
Williams sees it as a necessary evil.
“It’s worth it,” Williams said. “It is iron sharpening iron, but you can sharpen iron at home, but you don’t get that road feel to it. You have to pack suitcases, drive up there, unpack suitcases, bring in refrigerators. That’s basically what you do when you go to a hotel. You have to pack up a bag, kiss the family goodbye. I don’t like it. I didn’t say I don’t need it.”
Williams arguably was the Steelers’ most valuable player last year as he rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns while filling in for the injured Le’Veon Bell. Bell is back after recovering from knee surgery, but it is unknown whether he will start camp on the physically unable to perform list.
Williams said he is past his foot injury.
“I am in the best shape I have ever been in my entire life,” Williams said. “I think I ran eight 40s (with the campers) and didn’t bend over or get tired once.”
Williams surprised many a year ago when he rushed for 100 yards four times and was one of the league leaders in rushing touchdowns. Williams has 7,753 yards and needs 214 yards to jump into the top 50 of the all-time leading rushers.
Williams said retirement isn’t on his mind even though the average age of a running back in the NFL is around 25. He turned 33 in April.
“I am not in that mindset,” he said. “We have to win it this year, win it next year or how many years I have left to play. That window (to win it) shrinks every year. That window is the same for all 32 teams right now. All 32 teams have the opportunity to win it right now. It’s just what they did in the offseason to ensure that they have a chance.”