Rams' Williams returns from injury, gets back to work

Sunday, May 18, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Aeneas Williams was back at work Saturday, and the Rams cornerback couldn't be happier.

Williams returned to the playing field this weekend for the first time since he fractured a bone in his left calf Oct. 20 against Seattle. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection saw his most extensive action since the injury during a morning session at the Rams' three-day mini-camp.

Williams, who broke up a pair of passes during an 11-on-11 scrimmage Saturday, said he was about 85 percent back after the two-hour workout.

"It's certainly good to get back on the field and move around and just smell the grass again," Williams said.

Williams spent 10 weeks on crutches and was forced to miss a significant part of a season for the first time in his 12-year career. Watching the Rams struggle through the final nine games was the toughest part. Yet Williams says he gained a lot through the experience.

"Once I was injured I was able to view the game from a different perspective," he said. Williams, a graduate of Southern University, worked in the off-season to get back into shape.

St. Louis coach Mike Martz used Williams sparingly Friday but gave him more work Saturday and plans to use him on a regular basis in today's final session as well.

"He's coming along the way we expected," Martz said.

The 5-foot-11 Williams was a picture of durability before the injury. He appeared in the first 180 games of his career -- starting 177 -- before a turf toe and ankle injury caused him to miss an Oct. 6 contest against San Francisco.

Two weeks later, he suffered the first serious injury of his career late in the 37-20 win over Seattle.

Williams has 51 interceptions, fourth among active defensive backs. He has returned eight picks for touchdowns, two shy of the league record. A lock to reach the Hall of Fame, Williams was selected to the NFL Team of the 1990s along with defensive backs Deign Sanders, Darrell Green and Rod Woodson.

For now, Williams' goal is to return to his Pro Bowl form of the past.

"I have some work to do," he said. "This is really the first time I've had extensive work. But it feels good to be there."

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