OXNARD, Calif. – The final preseason game of 2013 was the last time Ryan Williams took a carry on an NFL field.
That was with the Cardinals, and the new Cowboys running back doesn't want to let this opportunity Thursday against the Chargers pass him by without making a mark.
"I've been waiting for Thursday since I signed," Williams said. "I'm just ready to get back out there. I'm ready to show these guys what they brought in."
In particular, Williams said he's ready to show everyone he's still the same guy who was the 2011 second-round pick the Cowboys were interested in a few years ago.
With the starters unlikely to play too far into the game, he should get more than a few opportunities to show what he's got against the Chargers. He said it can be tough at times for a backup running back to get his feet wet at training camp, but he knows he'll get his chances Thursday to show what he's got.
"It makes me 10 times more excited man, because I'll get the ball more," Williams said. "Let's be honest, running backs love getting the ball. I love getting the ball, but it's only so much you can do out here. For one, with limited reps.
Two, you really don't know what the tempo is at times. Sometimes you might get a guy that wants to tackle you. Sometimes you might get a guy that just wants to tag you. You just really don't know what's going on in peoples' minds, but on Thursday, I hope people don't want to tag me, because I'll run right by them. I'm just excited. I'm ready to show everyone what I'm capable of doing. People think I was hurt all last year, I wasn't hurt all last year. I came back from a disabling injury. That speaks volumes. I just want to show what I'm made of."
The injury Williams referred to is a ruptured patella tendon in his knee. He's gotten past that injury and is fighting along with Joseph Randle and Ben Malena to get the majority of reps behind DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar. [embedded_ad]
Williams, Randle and Malena should get a lot of reps Thursday, and he knows that.
"I know what I got myself into," Williams said. "DeMarco's the guy, Lance is the established backup guy, so reps are a little bit limited. But I try to make the best of them with the group that I'm in. Thursday, I'll be able to be out there a lot more, get my feet wet a lot more, and I plan to make plays, man."
It's a weird feeling for Williams to be the guy taking third-team reps, considering how highly touted Williams was coming out of college and really throughout his whole football career.
"It is, by far, the weirdest feeling ever," Williams said.
But he's getting over that feeling and is proud of where he's at after suffering a debilitating knee injury that could have ended his career.
"I didn't want to be the guy that just said an injury's going to keep me out the NFL, so I worked my tail off," Williams said. "It's a little different, but I'm blessed to even have this opportunity. There's guys that haven't been hurt and have been healthy from the time period I've been hurt and don't have a job. So I know what I'm capable of doing, I know how talented I am and I know what I can bring to the table. I'm ready to show it."