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Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams giving up football


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I'll be pulling for him to be the guy in the suit in the suite on Sundays.  

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Not of fan of CBB but this was a classy move link


Rawleigh Williams’ playing career in Fayetteville may be over but his opportunity to contribute to next season’s team is still very much alive. If you missed the news from Monday, the junior running back announced he would be stepping away from the field following his injury scare suffered during the team’s final spring practice.

While Williams doesn’t have any intentions of suiting up this fall, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is still interested in having the junior contribute to the program in a meaningful way moving forward. During a recent speaking engagement at Pine Bluff country club, Bielema revealed he had extended an offer for Williams to join his football program, according to Jeremy Muck of Whole Hog Sports. Williams’ potential role with the program is undefined at this point.

The jovial Bielema also talked about his attempts to cheer up Williams following his difficult decision to walk away from football, especially after achieving so much success on the field last season. As a true sophomore, Williams lead the SEC in rushing during the regular season in 2016. Credit Bielema for using that same information to get a smile out of his former running back.

“I said, ‘Hey, how many guys can retire as the leading rusher of the SEC?’ He chuckled and laughed,'” Bielema said.

The junior running back has stated his personal goals in football will transition from excelling on the field to becoming one of the key decision makers in the suite above the stadium. Should he take a position on Bielema’s staff, he’ll be taking yet another step to achieving that goal in the future.




Bielema behind Rawleigh Williams: ‘He’s got his health’

By: Jeremy Muck
Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema talks with the media Monday night before an event at the Pine Bluff country club.

Photo by Staton Breidenthal
Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema talks with the media Monday night before an event at the Pine Bluff country club.

PINE BLUFF -- Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said he wanted get a smile on the face of Rawleigh Williams last week after the Razorbacks' All-SEC tailback told Bielema that his college football career was over.

"I said, 'Hey, how many guys can retire as the leading rusher of the SEC?' " Bielema said to Williams, who had 1,326 yards to lead the SEC in rushing yards during the regular season. "He chuckled and laughed."

Arkansas football fans found about Williams' decision on Monday, four months after he rushed for 1,360 yards with 12 touchdowns on 245 carries.

Williams announced in a news release he was ending his football career at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville after suffering a second neurological injury in 18 months.

Williams, who injured his neck against Auburn in Oct. 24, 2015, and underwent surgery, returned to the Razorbacks last season.

But after a second neurological event early in Arkansas' Red-White practice April 29 in Fayetteville, Williams told Bielema last week that he was planning on not playing anymore.

Williams visited Bielema's office Monday to tell him about his farewell letter titled "Next Chapter" that he was going to release on the Razorbacks' athletics website.

"It's not a negative. It's a very positive thing," Bielema said Monday night before meeting with the Pine Bluff Razorback Club at the Pine Bluff Country Club. "He's got his health. The doctors are in touch with him as far as if there's going to be any more procedures. He's got full use of everything.

"I pointed out him [to Williams] that you've done some really good things. That meant something."

Bielema said he's learned perseverance and resiliency through Williams.

"You take away something that's been in his life since the age of 4, but he's handled it with maturity, with a conviction and with the faith that he has, " Bielema said. "We can all learn a lot."

Williams will be on a medical scholarship, where he will receive the same benefits as a regular scholarship athlete. He is on track to receive his bachelor's degree in finance, then enter graduate school at Arkansas.

Bielema told Williams on April 29 that if he weren't able to continue playing, he would have a job in the football program. The coach said Monday that Williams doesn't have a specific role yet, calling it a work in progress, but said Williams will help out on the field with the running backs and off the field with the recruiting department.

The Razorbacks' leading returner at running back with the departure of Williams is sophomore Devwah Whaley (602 yards, 3 touchdowns).

Bielema is used to seeing his top rushers leave prematurely in recent years, Arkansas lost Alex Collins, a junior, to the NFL after the 2015 season, but Williams' situation is different.

"During my career, as you lose one, even though it's tough to swallow or tough to take, there's usually one to step up," Bielema said. "Rawleigh said, 'Everybody was concerned when we lost J-Will [Jonathan Williams] and Alex, but I was able to step into that role. I know everybody's concerned because I'm leaving that role.'

"But he's very confident in the guys we've got coming back."


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Kudos to the kid for proving he deserved recognition as a scholar athlete 2 years in a row. You have to appreciate a player who knows when to walk away. Also Kudos to Bret for taking care of him and helping him find a path to his goal of being a GM at some point. There aren't many nice things I can say about Bret, but this was a class move.

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