Tom Sorensen

DeAngelo Williams grapples with life after football, but it could work out

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) made his professional wrestling debut last weekend, and it went very well. If free agency doesn’t work out ...
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) made his professional wrestling debut last weekend, and it went very well. If free agency doesn’t work out ... AP

DeAngelo Williams, the former Carolina Panthers running back, made his professional wrestling debut in Orlando Sunday at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary.

He formed a tag team with former NFL offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka. Many writers were happy when Ojinnaka left pro football. That’s a tough name to spell. In wrestling, he goes by Moose.

Williams and Moose took on Eli Drake and Chris Adonis. For Williams, this is like playing your first game of tackle football against Green Bay.

But you know what? Williams was great. Look at him. He ducks, he attacks, he bounces off ropes and he carries a big bad-guy wrestler on his shoulders.

Alas, the squared circle is not a place for rookies. I know because I went to professional wrestling school in Atlanta. The ropes were like wires, the turnbuckles had almost no padding, and every guy I went against was bald, weighed 300 pounds and called me comrade.

I was not offered a job. Williams should be.

After training only three days, he made a single mistake. He ended the match by jumping off the top rope onto an opponent who had been conveniently placed on a table. Williams overshot the table and banged his head on the mat.

But he caught enough of the bad guy to get up and pin him.

Williams, 34, is a free agent. If football does not work out. …

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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