DeAngelo prepared -- for whatever


LATROBE, Pa. -- DeAngelo Williams arrived in Pittsburgh having played in 112 NFL games that included 82 starts, and with 1,432 carries, 6,846 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns on his resume.

And his former coach in Carolina maintains there's more where that came from.

"He has a lot left," Panthers Coach Ron Rivera insisted at the NFL Owners Meetings that were held in Phoenix back in March. "I think he's going to do a great job for Pittsburgh."

Williams, who turned 32 on April 25, endured the least productive of his nine NFL seasons in 2014. He posted career-low totals in attempts (62), rushing yards (219) and average yards per carry (3.5, which was the first time he'd been under 4.1 as a pro) while trying to deal with ankle, thigh, and hand injuries.

The Pittsburgh Steelers participated in their second practice in front of fans at Saint Vincent College. This is the final practice before pads go on.

"Last year was kind of a different year for him," Rivera said. "He struggled with being hurt because he wasn't on the football field. But as soon as he started to get healthy, then he started to practice again and practice hard, the way he always does."

The Steelers perceive Williams as the veteran complement to Le'Veon Bell and as a fill-in starter at running back during Bell's two-game suspension.

Williams knows all about sharing the load at the position, because he did it often during his career at Carolina, most notably with Jonathan Stewart.

"They had been doing it since 2008, before I got there, when they both rushed for over 1,000 yards," Rivera said. "They've very complementary backs to one another. Jonathan and DeAngelo had that kind of relationship where they understood that and they fed off one another's successes. Having a veteran guy like DeAngelo bringing along a young guy like Jonathan, and Fozzy Whittaker for that matter, really helped our football team."

After reporting to his first training camp at Saint Vincent College, Williams was asked whether his experience as part of a running back tandem with the Panthers would serve him well in his current situation with the Steelers.

"Everybody out there is only concerned about the first few games in the season, and there are 16 games," said Williams. "We get tired in this game. I'm quite sure that Le'Veon, when he gets back, is not going to play the entire game in every game for the rest of the season. So when everybody asks if I'm ready to carry the load for the first (two) games, no. I'm ready to carry the load for sixteen games then playoffs then the Super Bowl. I'm going to be ready to go. Once I get in there, my production cannot drop off once he [Bell] is out of there. I have to keep producing, or they're going to put someone else in there. I'm getting geared up for a great playoff run and a Super Bowl run. I'm not just ready and prepared for however many games (the suspension) is. I'm going to be prepared for the entire season, the playoffs, and the Super Bowl included."

Williams became available to the Steelers on the free-agent market after being cut by Carolina.

"We had to talk about the direction we needed to head and what we wanted to do, age, salary, everything," Rivera said. "We had to take a lot of things into consideration before we made that decision.

"I think Pittsburgh's a solid spot for him. I like (the Steelers') style of football, and I think he'll fit in well."

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