The Kansas City Chiefs’ leading rusher for their Super Bowl-winning season will not be be suiting up for the defense campaign. According to a statement made by the team Wednesday, running back Damien Williams has opted out of the 2020-2021 year.
“As an organization, we certainly understand and respect Damien’s choice, knowing it was made in the best interest of his family,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said in a statement via Twitter. “He means a lot to our football team as a player and a person, and we’re going to miss having him around this season.”
In 11 games for Kansas City last season, the 28-year-old recorded 498 yards and 111 carries, resulting in five touchdowns. A free agent who arrived to Arrowhead Stadium in March 2018, Williams was responsible for two game-deciding touchdowns that would effectively hand Andy Reid’s men their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
Williams was slated to enter the final year of his deal, taking home $1.85 million. Under these circumstances, his contract will carry over to the 2021 season and Williams will earn an $150,000 advance on his salary.
Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire Needed Now More Than Ever
It’s a good thing Kansas City invested in a running back in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With the 32nd pick, the Chiefs selected former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who led the Tigers to a national championship in January. With him as probably the de facto RB1, looks like the 21-year-old has some major responsibilities ahead of him.
During his junior season in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana native tallied 17 touchdowns (16 rushing, 1 passing) and 1,867 scrimmage yards (1,414). Thankfully, it doesn’t appear unlikely he will sit out his rookie year. Edwards-Helaire reportedly signed his rookie contract on July 20, a four-year deal worth $10.8 million.
In one of his first interviews since officially joining his new side, Edwards-Helaire gushed about playing alongside Patrick Mahomes, who was the first to tweet his approval of the choice the night of the draft.
“I know it’s going to be special,” he said, via NFL.com’s James Palmer. “After I was picked, Pat tweeted out the old Shaq meme. That’s self-explanatory. He’s completely ready and I’m completely ready. With all the weapons we have on the outside and just this offense in total, add me and everyone is only going to complement each other. It will make the game just that much easier for us on offense.”
He’s not the only star rusher for the Chiefs, either. Here’s how the rest of their running back depth chart looks:
Though Williams will certainly be missed, looks like Kansas City remains in good hands, and all four aforementioned names will likely see some considerable playing time when the NFL returns this fall.