Steelers rule out RB Williams for AFC wild-card game vs. Bengals
It's official: The Steelers will be without DeAngelo Williams for Saturday's postseason game.
The veteran running back was ruled out by the club, according to its official injury report released Friday. Williams did not participate in the team's three practices this week after injuring his right foot during Sunday's regular-season finale.
Second-year pro Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the featured running back in the wild-card game at Cincinnati, with veteran Jordan Todman also figuring in to the Steelers' game plan.
Toussaint has 54 career rushing yards on 24 carries over nine games — five with the Steelers since Dec. 6. He was in uniform for two playoff games for Baltimore last season and had two carries for 5 yards.
Todman is a five-year veteran who is with his fifth organization. Like Toussaint, he was signed days before the regular season. Todman has 472 career rushing yards and 40 receptions. He had four carries for 22 yards this season but has been deactivated during the past five games since Toussaint was signed from the practice squad.
Williams had 908 rushing yards — his most since 2009 — with 11 touchdowns this season despite having nine or fewer carries in eight games. He was signed in March to back up Le'Veon Bell, who has been on injured reserve since Nov. 1.
Williams has not spoken on the record with media this week. He has been spotted in the Steelers locker room, most recently Thursday with a walking boot on his foot.
Todman said he and Toussaint split practice reps with the starting offense this week.
“It's a challenge but a great opportunity for both of us,” Todman said.
This is the fourth time during the past six Steelers playoff appearances that the team is without its starting running back for the playoff opener. The Steelers lost all three previous games, including last season when Bell went down in the regular-season finale.
“Even though we don't have D-Will, and even though we don't have Le'Veon, what we have are great backs. They just haven't been seen yet,” receiver Markus Wheaton said. “So when it comes to running the ball, I think we will be fine.”
Tight end/fullback Will Johnson also said he has been taking reps at running back.
“We'll run the same stuff we have all season,” Johnson said. “ ‘Fitz' has been here, and he's ready to play.”
Dalton officially out
Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton (broken right thumb) will not play Saturday, meaning AJ McCarron will make his first NFL postseason start.
Also out for the Bengals are reserve tight end Ryan Hewitt (knee) and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee).
Cornerback Leon Hall (concussion, back) is probable.
The only other player besides Williams on the Steelers' injury report listed with an injury, receiver Martavis Bryant (neck), is probable to play Saturday.