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First-time Pro Bowler Williams comfortable sharing limelight

  • By Simon Samano NFL.com
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Despite missing the final two games of the season because of an ankle injury, Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams is in South Florida for his first Pro Bowl.

He's dedicated and ready to go, which is saying something when you think about all the stars who remained cautious by withdrawing from the game because of lingering injuries.

Bill Feig / Associated Press
WR Roddy White led the Falcons in receiving yards and will make his second straight Pro Bowl appearance.
NFC South Pro Bowl roster breakdown (* starter)
Player Team Pos. Exp. PBs
Ryan Kalil Carolina C 2 1
Julius Peppers* Carolina DE 8 5
DeAngelo Williams Carolina RB 4 1
Roddy White Atlanta WR 5 2
Saints players out due to Super Bowl: Drew Brees, Jonathan Goodwin, Jahri Evans, Roman Harper, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Stinchcomb, Jonathan Vilma

"Whenever I'm called upon I try to come, and I try to play at the highest level," Williams said on Wednesday, adding that his ankle feels 100 percent. "Unfortunately, I can't speak for those other guys. Their injuries are different from other people's injuries, and the pain tolerance is different. I can't speak for them, but I can speak for myself. I'm here to perform."

Call it Williams just doing what is asked of him -- simple as that. It's the same workmanlike approach he uses in dealing with the two-back system that Carolina employs.

One might think Williams would make a stink about sharing carries with Jonathan Stewart, whom the Panthers drafted in the first round (13th overall) in 2008. But that's simply not the case.

"It's whatever is productive," Williams said. "Whether he's the hot hand or myself, you give yourself two opportunities to excel back there in the backfield."

The Panthers certainly proved that this season, as Williams and Stewart became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to eclipse 1,100 yards each.

While unprecedented, it's an achievement Williams really has no interest in highlighting.

"Right now, it's not as big," said Williams, who rushed for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. "It's still a big feat, I guess, but it wasn't as big as Chris Johnson's 2,000. One man's 2,000 is bigger than two with 1,100."

And that's where one might think Williams would have an issue with Stewart. Williams announced himself as the starter in Carolina with a monster second half to 2008, in which he finished the season with 18 touchdowns. But as long as Stewart is his teammate, a chance to make CJ2K-like history seems far off.

Not a problem, though.

"No, that doesn't bother me at all," said Williams, who has averaged more than five yards per carry three years straight. "We work within our system, and it's a two-back system that has proven to serve its purpose. I've got no problem with it at all. I'm all about winning."

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