DeAngelo Williams is the oldest running back in the league. And yet, as backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has absolutely outperformed every expectation that was given to him.
In week one he rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns with 28 receiving yards. Williams is the oldest running back in Steelers history to rush for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns since Jerome Bettis did it in 2005. In week two he rushed for 94-yards and had 38-yards receiving and one touchdown. Considering he is a 34 year-old running back, that is impressive.
To quote the NFL's Gregg Rosenthal "DeAngelo Williams is the most underpaid, underrated running back in football." And I have to agree. D-Will signed a two-year, $4 million contract last year in March, and has started more games than Le'Veon Bell - the starter. That alone is impressive. This is made more impressive by the stats he is putting up, meaning anyone who had the foresight to grab him for their fantasy team must be rubbing their hands together.
Williams is clearly a great player. What makes all of this better is that he's so up front about it, with a 'taking the bull by the horns' mentality. Back in August, he did an interview with TribLive, where he spoke about how he hates all of the questions about whether he can fill the role in Pittsburgh and whether his age is an issue. All Williams wants an answer to is whether the Steelers can win the Superbowl. You can find my article about this, as well as a link to the original article here.
This is all helped by the fact that he is so likable. First and foremost for such likability is that he is so accessible. He is very active on twitter and facebook. This makes him feel more human - an example of this was after the Cincinnati game one of the first things he posted on social media was a thank you to his offensive line. It's clear that he understands what the team does for him and he is thankful for that.
A recent incident involving him on social media was a twitter argument he had concerning a small tip he gave earlier this month. Whether you agree with Williams' meager tip or not, there is one thing that shines out, and that he will not hide behind anonymity, and that is something to respect. Other athletes and public figures are not active on social media, and for very fair reasons, but the point here is that Williams is not using it as a tool of self promotion, but rather a way to interact with his fans and haters.
Although he doesn't use social media to push himself, he does use it to push for a very noble cause - breast cancer. Williams, like many people, has had a family member die to cancer. In his case it was his mother, who died of the breast cancer in May of 2014, as well as 4 of his aunts who also died to breast cancer. Williams uses his platform to help others cope with, and survive, breast cancer. This is why he has those pink dreadlocks (which he rocks).
On his personal facebook and twitter pages he shares and attempts to sell products in pink for his own breast cancer charity, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation. Which from its "about" page on facebook describes its mission as: "to develop and seek initiatives to support the eradication of breast cancer through preventative care and research." It is linked to Susan G. Komen for the Cure too, another great charity.
Williams uses this platform he has directly too. October last year he provided 53 women in Charlotte and Pittsburgh with mammograms to screen for breast cancer. This is something he is personally invested in, and so he is doing what he can to help out with the fight against cancer.
Regardless of what you think of a 34 year-old running back, it's clear that Williams can still play with the best of them. He has a drive to play well, as its clear he wants that Super Bowl ring, and has placed his bets on Pittsburgh to do that for him. He's a great player, and person too, using his platform as a professional athlete to not only be more approachable to the masses, but also help with a charity for a cause that no person can oppose.
Altogether, Williams is great, on and off the field.