Williams Needs Some Luck

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With every acrobatic catch from receiver Demetrius Williams, Ravens fans cheer with delight. Every time Williams falls to the turf, gasps of fear ring out from the stands.

That's because there is a lot riding on Williams' fourth NFL season.

Williams showed flashes of greatness as a rookie, finishing the 2006 campaign with a team-leading 18.0-yard average per catch. But since then, injuries have derailed what could have been a promising career.

With Derrick Mason's potential retirement, the need for Williams to step up is highlighted even more.

He believes this will be his breakout year.

"Patience can bring out something great," Williams said. "I've been waiting and waiting, and I think it's my time to actually go out and do something about it. I've been sitting around for a few years hurt, and I've got all that behind me. I'm ready to go out and play."

In 2007, Williams was sidelined after nine games because of a high ankle sprain. He landed on Injured Reserve again the following year after hurting the same ankle.

Williams had surgery on his Achilles' tendon in November – after amassing 13 receptions for 180 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown reception, in seven contests – and has been working hard ever since to make it to this training camp.

So far, the reports are positive. Williams seemed to walk with a slight limp during offseason minicamps. He said it wasn't a problem when he sprinted, but the hitch was visible when he walked back to the huddle.

Now, Williams is gliding around the field to the delight of the capacity crowd at McDaniel College.

"I feel like I am 100 percent," Williams admitted. "I'm not worried about anything physically. It feels better than it did before.

"I just want to go out and do my part."

Williams (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) took extra precaution against further injury by adding 15 pounds of muscle to his formerly reed-thin frame. His beefed-up biceps are a testament to where the weight has been distributed, which can help.

"He wanted to put on a lot of weight, become stronger, build muscle mass around the joints, so he could be more durable," head coach John Harbaugh said. "I think his goal is to become a durable football player, along with becoming capable of doing all the things he needs to do as a receiver."

Williams has already shown that he has great hands in camp, as evidenced by the leaping 30-yard grab he made in Friday afternoon's practice where he snatched the ball out of the air in traffic.

The fourth-round draft pick out of Oregon also said he has retained his sprinter's speed in spite of his added bulk.

"I've grown with it," Williams said. "I didn't gain the weight all at one time. I did it over a period of time, and when you're running while doing that, you can adjust to it."

Since the end of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in late June, Williams admitted that it took him two to three weeks before he felt like his old self.

The Ravens are hoping he feels like that guy late into the schedule.

"If he can stay healthy, there is no doubt that he is a player," said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. "He's got to continue to battle to stay healthy. Everyone around here is excited about Demetrius. We know he's a player.

"We've got to do everything we can to get him the football, and he needs a little bit of luck. Luck plays a factor in this thing. He's had some bad luck and maybe luck is on his side this year."

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