Arkansas Team News

Arkansas star RB Rawleigh Williams gives up football: ‘I’ve dodged the bullet twice’

Brett Rojo/USA Today Sports

A second serious neck injury is forcing Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III to retire from football.

Williams, who was third int he SEC with 1,360 rushing yards last season, is giving up football on medical advice, he announced Monday in a message posted on the Arkansas athletic department website.

“I’m moving onto the next chapter of my life. It’s tough to not be able to play football anymore because I’ve been playing since I was four years old,” Williams said. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do or planned on having to do so early. I’ve prayed, listened to my doctors, my parents and my gut.

“It still doesn’t seem real yet, but I really don’t have a choice. I’ve dodged the bullet twice. I realize that at the end of the day, I want to live a normal life and be around my family.”

Williams was taken from the field by trainers after sustaining a neck injury on an apparently “normal hit” before the Razorbacks’ spring game April 29. He reportedly lost movement in his arms for a time.

“I remembered the feeling,” he said. “It didn’t last as long, so I wasn’t as nervous, but I knew something was wrong. I knew that it was similar enough to the last time. … When they tested my hand strength I could squeeze, but it was really weak and I could barely feel it.”

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That was the second serious scare for Williams, who also injured his neck during the seventh game of his freshman season in 2015 against Auburn, and missed the final six games.

With Williams out, Devwah Whaley now becomes the starter for the Razorbacks. Whaley rushed for 602 yards last season.

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