Will Carroll: “It’s been a problem since college.”
I wrote a week ago about how Cadillac Williams was suffering from a herniated disk last year, and shortly after, I received an e-mail from Will Carroll, columnist for ESPN, SI, Rotowire, and Baseball Prospectus. Carroll, famous for his “Under the Knife” baseball injury columns and ESPN football injury columns, was onto this story early last year. He agreed to share with me what he knows about the injury. For example, it goes back to his college days and maybe even high school.
Mitchell Blatt: So this injury happened in high school?
Will Carroll: I can’t say that it definitively happened in high school, but I know that he’s had problems with his neck in high school. People that I’ve talked to there in Alabama said that he was bad at blocking. It was the one thing he didn’t do. Then, at Auburn, one of the reasons he was in a platoon there, was that he was a terrible pass blocker. He did have some problems with his neck. They turned out to be herniated disks. There is an MRI.
MB: Why haven’t many other people heard about this?
WC: NFL teams have great incentive not to allow this kind of information out. Even though they have very specific rules about publishing the injury list, there’s ways around it. You say neck injury. You say back spasms.
MB: Did he get downgraded at all going into the Draft because of it?
WC: Yes, I talked with two sources from different teams, and I’m told that it was a known problem going into the Draft, and it was something that his agent addressed. That’s common practice. Most of the time, especially with the top picks, when there’s an injury like this, the agent will try to get that information out and try to control it. It was addressed. People knew about it. The Buccaneers knew about it. They didn’t think it was a significant enough problem not to draft him.
MB: Did that have anything to do with the fact that he was the third running back picked?
WC: It could have. I’m certain it was something they all considered. But, honestly, I don’t think so. Ronnie Brown was picked ahead of him. Cedric Benson. I can’t say that’s out of order.
MB: Anything else you want to say?
WC: I just think it’s interesting how the NFL controls information. We think that it does a good job of getting things out there, but it also does a good job of covering things up. It’s not that that is always a bad thing. That information doesn’t always need to come out. That being said, all the denials in the world here, don’t change the fact that Cadillac has had neck problems since college.
More on Cadillac Williams: Herniated Disks May Have Affected Cadillac Williams in Week One
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