Starting tackle Williams suffers apparent knee injury in padded practice
Carolina Panthers starting right tackle Daryl Williams suffered an apparent right knee injury halfway through Saturday’s practice at Wofford College.
Williams required assistance to stand, and he had to be carted off the field. He was taken to Charlotte to be evaluated.
Saturday was the team’s first day in pads. The injury appeared to be noncontact.
Williams backpedaled during team drills to con- tain his man, and his right leg appeared to crumple beneath him. He yelled in pain, and players knelt as trainers rushed to attend to him. Many veterans stayed with Williams as he was helped onto the cart by defensive tackle Kawann Short and the team’s medical staff.
“It got real quiet and it just sort of hits you in the stomach,” said defensive end Wes Horton.
“It was tough. It really was,” said coach Ron Rivera. “We were kind of floating a little bit right there, especially on the offensive side. You could see it, you could sense it. It’s one of those things. It takes the wind out of your sails a little bit.”
Williams started every game at right tackle for the Panthers last season, earning second-team All-Pro honors.
“You never want to see a player like that go down. … (He) has done such an exceptional job of battling to get the credit that he has deserved, the notoriety this past year and coming into his own this year,” said quarterback Cam Newton, who added that he felt optimistic about Williams’ prognosis. “You hate to see certain things like that. But I believe that everything will be all right, hoping every- thing will be all right.”
Williams, 25, was a fourth-round pick by the Panthers in 2015 and is entering a contract year.
Negotiations began this spring between the team and Williams’ camp, but a source told the Observer that there was a “monster gap” between the club and the player financially.
As practice continued, second-year guard/tackle Taylor Moton took over the starting right tackle position.
“I’m not quite sure what happened” to Williams, he said after practice. “As soon as I saw it happen, I immediately got on a knee and prayed for him. My heart goes out to him. I pray for a speedy recovery. ...
“He’s been a great mentor to me. Sitting back and watching how he plays day in and day out … I know he means a lot to the team.”
Moton, a 2017 secondround pick out of Western Michigan, has been competing for the vacancy at left guard. But last year, Rivera mentioned Moton had largely been getting tackle snaps during practices, and he played limited snaps in games. He was only used as the extra tackle in Carolina’s shortyardage “Jumbo” package.
But Moton feels confident he can step in if needed.
“It doesn’t matter where they put me. If it’s right tackle right now, so be it,” he said. “I feel comfortable. I feel very confident … My mindset is, wherever they put me is my best position. If that’s right tackle, then that’s my best position.”
Carolina Panthers tackle Daryl Williams is tended to by team personnel after injuring his right leg during Saturday’s training camp practice. Williams was carted from the field.