Cadillac Williams was forced to watch his teammates practice without him while he rehabbed his surgically repaired knee this offseason, but the former first-round pick took a big step in his comeback Friday.
Williams, 27, was cleared to participate in training camp on Friday, which is when the Bucs reported to training camp at One Buccaneer Place.
“Cadillac is ready to go," Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said. "I’m just as fired up about Cadillac as you are. I know he looks great. He looks great today, knock on wood.”
The fifth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and NFL Rookie of the Year has suffered two devastating knee injuries in consecutive seasons, the latter of which occurred in Tampa Bay's 2008 regular season finale vs. the Oakland Raiders.
Although the torn patellar tendon injuries were sustained to different knees, they had one thing in common – the injuries occurred on Williams' longest runs of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, respectively.
The second knee injury Williams sustained wasn't as serious as the first, which helped the 5-foot-11, 217-pound back make a fairly speedy recovery considering the severity of the knee injury.
With Williams back in action, Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski's new challenge is to find a way to spread the ball around to his stable of veteran running backs, which includes Earnest Graham, Derrick Ward and Clifton Smith.
Although Williams can return to the football field, the Bucs likely will ease him back into action since he has started just five games over the past two years.
Williams has rushed for 2,417 yards (3.8 avg.) and 14 touchdowns during his four-year career.