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Williams: Decision on my Panthers future depends on QBs

Running back DeAngelo Williams told a Miami radio station Saturday that his decision to remain with Carolina or seek a new NFL home could hinge on what direction the Panthers take at quarterback.

"It's all going to boil down to quarterbacks," Williams said on WQAM-AM. "In this league, the running game is all predicated on if you have a quarterback or not. If you don't have a quarterback, teams stack the box and they force you to do what you do best."

*The Herald* in Rock Hill, S.C., reported that Williams was in Miami to participate in the celebrity portion of Sunday's Nautica South Beach Triathlon, in which he'll bike 19 miles.

With Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown both scheduled to become free agents once a collective bargaining agreement is reached, the Dolphinsare in the market for a potential workhorse back, and Williams, also a free-agent-to-be, has heard his name mentioned.

"It's kind of ironic that I'm here in Miami, because I've heard rumors that I may be at the top of their board this year," Williams said. "I love it here. ... This is a place that I'd love to live.

"I know they've had a lot of talk about the quarterback situation here in Miami," Williams added. "We've had a lot of quarterback talks in Charlotte, too."

Williams clarified that a return to the Panthers isn't out of the question, but he expressed hope that the Dolphins would court him.

"I hope I'm at the top of their list and that they come after me and make a conscious effort to come after me, because it shows that they want me," he said.

The Panthers ranked last in the NFL in total offense (258.4 yards per game) and scoring (12.2 points per game), toiling behind starting quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore and Brian St. Pierre. Williams topped the list of Carolina running backs who suffered under the team's one-dimensional attack, following his 1,117-yard showing in 13 games in 2009 with 361 yards in six games in 2010.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday in an interview with WFNZ-AM in Charlotte, N.C., that the team will choose the player in this month's draft who best fills its primary need. Rivera also said he disagreed with the sentiment that there isn't a quarterback worthy of the No. 1 pick, and the team appears open to selecting either Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

Clausen, the Panthers' 2010 second-round pick, was compromised by nine losses and mostly poor showings in 10 starts last season, but Rivera went out of his way to defend the quarterback while speaking with reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting last month.

"I think he got too much of the blame," Rivera said. "I think he shouldered too much of the responsibility."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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