Williams: 'It's important for me to be here'


DeAngelo Williams walked down the hall toward the Steelers locker room, first making sure he was headed in the right direction as he literally was arriving for his first day on the job.

Williams, signed this offseason to add depth at running back, is among those taking part in Phase One of the Steelers offseason program and he was there bright and early on day one, ready to get to work with his new teammates.

It was a huge change of scenery for Williams, who has spent the last nine years with the Carolina Panthers.

"It's a lot different," said Williams. "I got up early this morning and had no clue what I was doing. I knew where the facility was. I tried to get here as early as possible to give myself time to get prepared for the day."

Williams was warmly greeted by his new teammates, some he recognized but most were first-time introductions.

"Having an opportunity to come in here and mix it up with the guys," said Williams. "Meeting guys…I am 100 percent sure I am not going to remember everybody's names, but I am going to get there.

"The hardest part is getting their names, understanding where each person comes from and understanding them as opposed to figuring them out."

Giving him the warmest welcome was safety Mike Mitchell, who was a teammate of Williams with the Panthers.

"When he came to Carolina I helped him get adjusted," said Williams. "When I signed with the Steelers he left me a message on the board and said I am going to help you get adjusted. When you meet guys and come in contact with guys you keep numbers and badger each other and keep in touch."

Phase One, which consists of strength and conditioning drills, is normally a time when younger players come in. But Williams, a 10-year veteran, knew coming in now and getting to know his teammates is huge.

The Steelers are back at work for Phase One of the offseason program.

"It's important for me to be here," said Williams. "If I would have come back when the veterans came back, I would have to learn everybody's name then. Now I can get a head start early and get an opportunity to learn the guys who are here."

It won't be until May when Williams gets to work on the football side of things with his new team, but he is already chomping at the bit to get started and is literally willing to do whatever is asked of him.

"I am excited for every opportunity given, whether it's as a starting role or backup role," said Williams. "I just want to help be productive and help this team win a championship. I am trying to make the team productive. I am trying to go out and do whatever it takes to win, whether it means blocking, catching, throwing a pass or two – I have been working on the arm a little bit. Or whether it means running where they want me to run or how they want me to run. Whatever it takes I am willing to do it. I am just here to help this offense be productive and win football games."

And that is something that will sit well with Steelers fans, who have already welcomed Williams to the family via social media and in random meetings this offseason.

"Man, it's unbelievable," said Williams. "Just the atmosphere and the fandom here. I know it has a deep, rich tradition. Six Lombardi trophies, working on our seventh. It's been a real eye opener. It's unreal. You can go all over the country, not just the United States, but anywhere in the world there is a Steelers fan."

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