Yesterday morning, eagle-eyed Tar Heel football fans may have noticed an unusual story on Instagram, or maybe even the Twitter profile change it alluded to:
Antonio Williams, the “San” of Carolina’s Ghidorah rushing attack last season, appeared to have announced a new gig back home. It’s an unfortunate development in one regard: Williams had signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent, but did not make the 53-man roster. Now that NFL teams can have six practice squad players with an unlimited number of accrued seasons, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Antonio to unseat a veteran, even on the Bills’ fluid running backs roster.
But when God closes a door, he opens a window, and this one apparently goes right into the running backs room at Kenan Stadium! While no official confirmation from the football program has been published (Antonio’s name does not appear anywhere on the official UNC Football website’s coaches section), it looks possible that he could be gearing up to assist Coach Robert Gillespie as a graduate assistant.
It would seem that Antonio would be a welcome figure back in the program, especially as Mack Brown wants to build team culture. Coach Mack has been effusive in his praise of Antonio Williams, a transfer from Ohio State, who didn’t complain about sharing carries with two players younger and more heavily featured than him, even after transferring from Ohio State to be featured more.
“I think he’s been the hardest worker on this team, he’s had the best attitude of anybody in my estimation on this team and I’m really, really proud of him. For all those young guys that weren’t getting the amount of reps they needed to, this guy never griped; he stepped up, he’s been a team leader the entire time and when his time came, he was ready and produced.”
Running back comrade Michael Carter agreed with Coach Mack’s assessment, adding, “He is someone people should be looking up to.” Antonio won’t have any problems connecting with and inspiring this year’s team. If there was any doubt, he could roll this film, hauntingly scored with Avengers music:
I’m sure that Antonio Williams would have preferred to begin his NFL career rather than return to Chapel Hill so soon. However, with COVID-19 affecting every aspect of life in America, including professional sports, he’s in as good a spot as you can be. He’ll be surrounded by a top notch medical staff, a program that cares about him, and when the world (and the NFL) gets back to normal, he’ll certainly get another shot. According to that Instagram bio, he’s definitely still available.