Have you ever heard the saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?’ How about ‘age is just a number?’ These two clichés couldn’t be more true for some of the most interesting stories of the current NFL season.
A prime example is 32 year old running back Deangelo Williams. All looked lost when he was cut by the Panthers to save about $6 million that he would have been owed for the 2015-2016 season.
But that’s when the Steelers called, looking for a veteran running back to fill in for superstar Le’Veon Bell who was facing a two game suspension. Williams took on the role and delivered, producing Le’Veon Bell-like numbers, with 199 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. This came as a shock as Williams was limited to six games the prior season because of injuries and poor play.
In week 3, Bell returned, which pushed Williams to the role of backup running back. This seemed to be the end of Williams’s comeback story. That is, until week 8 when Le’Veon Bell suffered a gruesome knee injury and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Williams responded by putting up 225 total yards and 2 touchdowns in week 9, proving what made him a star in Carolina.
Chris Johnson is one of the most dynamic, game breaking running backs the NFL has ever seen. With blazing speed and incomparable quickness, the former Titan’s 2009 season was one of the best for a running back in the history of the NFL. With 2,006 rushing yards and another 2,509 scrimmage yards, Chris Johnson was affectionately dubbed ‘CJ2K’ because he was a standout performer.
However, after being one of the league’s best running backs, Johnson faced a drought where he became ineffective and inconsistent. This led to his release from the Titans in 2014. His hiatus on the free agent market didn’t last long, as he signed with the Jets soon thereafter. After a disappointing year with the Jets, one of the league’s worst teams, he once again found himself as a free agent.
In March of 2015, Johnson found himself in the battle of his life after being shot in the shoulder in a drive-by altercation that left the driver of Johnson’s car dead. Many saw this as the end for the fan-favorite running back, but in the 2015 preseason, the Arizona Cardinals signed the 30 year old. This was viewed as a depth move by a team with an already dynamic running back, Andre Ellington. But Ellington got hurt and CJ2K was back. Returning to old form, CJ2K is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, his best since his 2009 season.
Over 30 is not the end
Every football expert says 30 is the age where running backs hit a wall and become ineffective. Don’t tell that to these two former stars, as they each make a strong push to become the NFL’s comeback player of the year.