Caddy's Injury Severe, Scary
Cadillac Williams is no stranger to long journeys and will have to draw upon those memories for his upcoming path. Williams sustained a severe injury to his left knee during Tampa Bay's 31-24 loss against Oakland. Tackled along the sideline by CB Chris Johnson at the end of a 28-yard run, Williams immediately grabbed his knee.

Jon Gruden categorized Williams' knee injury as "serious" but did not get specific. Teammates, however, indicated Williams tore his patellar tendon. Williams tore the patellar tendon in his right knee against Carolina last season.

"I'm not stepping on anybody's toes by saying we all hold him close to our hearts," Bucs C Jeff Faine said. "We've all watched how hard he worked to get back onto the field and to watch this happen to him, I really can't put into words how bad I feel for him."

Gruden also struggled to hold back his emotions when asked about Williams' injury. "It's probably the most sickening feeling I've had as a coach," Gruden said. "If you just knew what he did to get to where he was Sunday - scoring two touchdowns, playing his best football arguably since his rookie season - to have it come down to this. It's certainly scary. It's both knees now and it will be a long way back for him."

Williams was having his most productive game since being activated from injured reserve in November. He rushed 12 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and had five receptions for 37 yards. Helped from the field, Williams slammed his hand down on the bench in frustration. Fans chanted his name - "Caddy" - as he made his way slowly toward the stadium tunnel, refusing to ride in the back of the cart until he reached the tunnel entrance.

After Williams' injury, Tampa Bay spiraled emotionally. The Bucs saw their 24-21 fourth-quarter lead evaporate as Oakland scored 10 unanswered points. "Caddy came back and fought hard through the rehab process for the team," said Bucs RB Earnest Graham, who is recovering from a season-ending ankle injury.

"He gave us some touchdowns the last couple of weeks and that was a tough break. If he stays in the game, we probably win. Even if he doesn't get hurt and we lose, he gets the offseason to continually get stronger. For him to have a tough break like that in the last quarter of the last game, it's tough."

Anwar Richardson, The Tampa Tribune 29 December 2008