DeAngelo Williams' season is done after the Panthers put him on injured reserve. (Photo by John Clark)
CHARLOTTE – Pro Bowl running back DeAngelo Williams became the latest Carolina Panther to be placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
The injury turned out to be more severe than first believed.
Williams missed the last three games with a foot sprain he suffered in the closing minutes of a win over San Francisco and could never make it back. The Panthers decided to shut him down rather than wait another few weeks for him to return.
“It was healing a little slower than originally expected and we needed a roster spot,” coach John Fox said.
Fox said it would have been at least another two or three weeks before Williams could have returned.
Williams was not available to speak with the media on Wednesday, but his close friend Jonathan Stewart described him as “frustrated.”
“He’s a warrior and a competitor,” Stewart said. “He’s a guy who wants to compete, so it’s definitely something he’s frustrated by.”
After rushing for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2008 and 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns in 2009, Williams managed just 361 yards and one touchdown in six games this season.
It’s possible, though not likely, that Williams has played his final game for the Panthers.
He’ll become a free agent after the season, although the new collective bargaining agreement – if and when it’s agreed upon – will dictate whether he’s an unrestricted or restricted free agent and whether or not the Panthers can use a franchise tag to protect him. Of course, given the Panthers depth at running back they could look to spend their money elsewhere.
In the meantime, it’s looking like Mike Goodson will make his second straight start for the Panthers this week against Baltimore.
Goodson became the first Carolina back to rush for 100 yards in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay.
Jonathan Stewart (concussion) and Tyrell Sutton (ankle) missed Wednesday’s practice and may not play.
Stewart walked through the locker room with a hooded sweatshirt on and said he’s still recovering from the blow he took 10 days ago from New Orleans safety Darren Sharper that left him hospitalized for a night.
“It was a big blow,” Stewart conceded.
“I don’t know," Stewart said when asked when he'll be back. "It really and truly takes time for it to heal. When that time gets around, I’ll be ready. It can be 48 hours from now, a week or two weeks. Who knows?”
When asked if he felt Sharper should have been fined, Stewart shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s out of my jurisdiction. I don’t have any control over that so why even stress my mind over it.”
ROSTER MOVE: The Panthers signed guard/center C.J. Davis off the practice squad to Williams’ spot on the 53-man roster.
That’s largely in case Travelle Wharton can’t play.
Wharton missed practice with a turf toe injury and Davis would provide depth in case Mackenzy Bernadeau is thrust into a starting role at left guard.
Carolina’s only other healthy backup is guard/center Chris Morris.
AMONG THE BIG MEN: With the Panthers running out of space in the locker room due to the influx of injuries, they gave QB Brian St. Pierre a locker along the same row as the team’s offensive linemen -- on the opposite side of where the quarterbacks are located.
“I think they’re trying to tell me something about my waistline,” joked St. Pierre. “I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. Jordan Gross welcomed me pretty well. He said I’m on golf course row.”
KING ME: TE Jeff King has been pretty reliable through the years for the Panthers, but had some rough plays that stood out in Carolina’s 31-16 loss to Tampa Bay.
King dropped two balls and was flagged for a pair of false starts.
“I had four bad plays,” King said. “Percentage wise I played pretty good. Hey, that's my first dropped ball I've had in five years here. I have to chalk that up to it's going to happen now and then. What do I do? I come out here and I catch balls and I work hard in practice. That's what I've always done.”