Not much was expected of rookie running back Karlos Williams in his rookie season. The Bills selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but behind running back LeSean McCoy, he was not expected to see the field much. But that was far from the course when he arrived there. With his size, skill and speed, he was able to become the main backup running back for McCoy. And with McCoy having some injuries last season, Williams got his chance to make some things happen. And when he did, he surely made an impact. The rookie from Florida State had nine total touchdowns and ran for 517 yards on only 93 carries. Coming into this season, the expectations were higher for Williams. He had proven that he was able to make some things happen with limited touches. But then that’s when the trouble began for Williams. He apparently showed up to training camp out of shape. He reportedly began to lose the weight, but gained some of it back. The weight issue along with his four-game suspension to start the year (violation of NFL substance abuse policy) eventually became something that the Bills did not want to deal with anymore. And after saying they would stand behind Williams, the Bills reversed course and surprisingly released him.
The onus in this whole matter falls on Williams. He was already skating on thin ice when he entered camp with the Bills. He was going to miss four games to start the season because of violation of the league’s policies on substance abuse. That in itself was something that was not looked upon well for him. But when he showed up to camp out of shape, that is when the real concern happened. When you have a job, your responsibility is to do it to the best of your ability. Your responsibility is also to make sure that you are in the best shape to handle your responsibilities. Williams apparently did not take that seriously in the grand scheme of things. Instead of taking care of his body and showing up in the best shape he could, he showed up not ready for football action. And when you show up not prepared on any job, that can lead to some disciplinary action or even termination in some cases. With Williams, the Bills gave him a chance to right the ship and lose the weight. But that weight loss did not work out for him because he lost then gained some back. At that point, the Bills felt it was time to let him go. And with them signing Reggie Bush and having running back Mike Gillislee, the Bills believed in what they had there more than dealing with Williams. And with that, he is now back on the market.
Williams may have messed up in Buffalo, but this is not the end of him in the NFL. He can use this happening as a learning lesson. Williams is only a second-year running back. And with the explosiveness that he has shown when in shape, he can help someone once he is eligible to return from suspension (provided he takes his off time to get into football shape). Plenty of teams can use a good, young running back trying to bounce back from a setback and one of those teams is Washington. The Redskins moved on from their starter last season, Alfred Morris and wanted to go in a different direction in their backfield. And in doing so, they essentially gave their starting running back spot to Matt Jones. The former Florida running back is a bruising runner with size and speed and many believe that he is the answer at that position for them. But there is definitely some reasons to believe that he is not the answer. Jones is a tough runner and can make some things happen. But he also can help the other team with how he fumbles the football. He carried the football roughly 51 more times than Williams did last season(144 to 93) and fumbled the ball four times compared to Williams’ one. And with the one fumble Williams had, he did not lose it. Jones lost all four fumbles he had. Add to the fact that Jones is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and there could be a need for Williams there as soon as he is eligible to return. The only questions are will they wait for him to be eligible and are they willing to take a chance on him.
Williams made a few mistakes and now that has cost him his job with the Buffalo Bills. But this is not the end of his career in the least. He is only 23 years old and what he did in a small sample size captured the attention of some. But from here on out, he has to get himself in shape and ready to contribute to whoever gives him and his representation a call. For the Redskins, they have a young back in Matt Jones, but there should be nothing wrong with bringing in another good young back with him. After all, the fumbling issues could get worse with more carries this year as a featured back. And that would leave the Redskins with more of a liability than an asset at that point.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former cohost of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.
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