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Ryan Williams, Cardinals Rookie Running Back, Already Eyeing Greatness

Rookie running back Ryan Williams (second round, Virginia Tech) got a boost in his profile Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals cleared out one guy on the depth chart ahead of him. With Tim Hightower traded to the Washington Redskins, the Cardinals are sending Williams a message that he's heard loud and clear.

"They opened the pathway for me," Williams said after practice on Monday morning. "If I don't perform and if don't do what I need to do to get on the field than I'm going to look bad and it's going to make them look bad too. I don't want nobody looking bad."

Hightower's departure also cleared another roadblock for Williams. He can now wear number 34 which for a running back is the ultimate sign of greatness.

Williams was a fan of Walter Payton since he was a kid and even emulates his running style a bit on Sweetness' distinctive high-step, "I have a little something, it's not quite like his but our styles favor but different in a couple of ways."

The young rookie is totally focused on his job, which right now means learning the playbook. He has no TV or computer in his dorm room and has no desire to go out on the town and sample some of the Flagstaff restaurants.

Williams' has his head buried in the play book and is even more motivated by being on the same field as some of his football heroes.

"I feel like a little kid out here seeing Larry Fitzgerald, (Darnell) Dockett, I mean guys like that I was watching them, playing them on games and now I'm with these guys. It feels good. It feels good that I made and now I've got to work as hard as these guys."

Williams might have one path opened to him with the Hightower trade, but coach Ken Whisenhunt made it clear that Beanie Wells is "the guy" and will get the the opportunity to "run with it".