D-Will On Road to Recovery

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Just by looking at him sprint down the field and casually snatch footballs out of the air during the Ravens' Organized Team Activities (OTAs), it seems that Ravens wideout Demetrius Williams is well on the way to recovering from the Achilles' tendon injury that ended his 2008 campaign prematurely.

With Derrick Mason not practicing because of a shoulder injury, Baltimore had relied on a combination of Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington and Marcus Smith as their top three receivers in previous practices during 11-on-11 portions.

This week, Williams finally returned to his regular spot next to Clayton during those drills for the first time. Ask him, though, and he's much more demure.

Williams downplayed the highlight of Wednesday's practice session, when he got one step on cornerback Evan Oglesby heading to the back left corner of the end zone and made a bobbling, one-handed snare as his momentum carried him out of bounds.

Tapping two toes on the sideline, the catch may not have been officially ruled a touchdown, but it was fit for a SportsCenter showcase nonetheless.

A teammate even signified it by singing the show's theme song.

Was the play a sign that Williams is back to his old self?

"No, I shouldn't have juggled it," he joked.

Despite what he says, it's easy to see Williams rounding into regular-season shape.

He'd been hobbled off-and-on by his surgically-repaired Achilles' tendon throughout the offseason, but on Tuesday, he made a grab slanting across the middle and raced past the entire secondary.

On Thursday, Williams basically did the same thing on another reception.

Both times, he only showed a slight limp – which had been much worse in early minicamps – when he trotted back to the huddle.

"I saw a nice one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone," said head coach John Harbaugh of the *SportsCenter *play. "I didn't see him coming back from plays looking like he was favoring [his injury] as much. It looks to me like he's putting that out of his mind a little bit and just playing."

"We're starting to see some of his speed come back."

The Ravens are hoping for Williams to grow on the promise of his rookie season, when he boasted 22 receptions for 396 yards (a team-leading 18.0-yard average per catch). Then, he was sidetracked by his ankle and Achilles' for the next two years.

For his part, Williams isn't resting on just a few solid possessions. He wants to see more consistent production out of himself – and lose the limp once and for all.

"I'm not necessarily feeling my burst, but I am feeling a little bit stronger," he said. "I just take it one day at a time." 

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