When the Carolina Panthers kick off their 2015 NFL season they will do so without DeAngelo Williams on their roster for the first time since 2006.
We know this after the veteran running back, who was selected by the Panthers with the 27th overall pick nine years ago, today confirmed speculation that he has been released by the Carolina franchise.
Speaking to WBTV, Williams revealed that he was informed of the Panthers' decision during a meeting with head coach Ron RIvera and GM Dave Gettleman, before recounting exactly what was said during the showdown talks.
"We sat down and he told me 'The fact of the matter is we're going to have to release you," explained Williams today.
"I said you know, 'Why?' and he said, 'because we don't run the ball enough, just like you said back before the season started, we don't run the ball enough to keep you and both (Jonathan Stewart), so we're going to release you'."
117 and out
Williams leaves the Panthers having appeared in 117 games for the franchise, recording 6,846 yards and 46 touchdowns along the way. Both of these stats stand as Panthers records.
The 2014 NFL season though saw Williams struggle to take the role of lead running back with injury and ill-form leaving him struggling for carries in his six appearances.
Carolina actually finished the season ranked seventh in yards rushed but, with Cam Newton clocking up a large proportion of those numbers, it is clear that Williams no longer had a future with the team.
The popular star though insists he holds no resentment, despite not having heard from the team since the pivotal meeting last week.
""I don't feel bitter at all. [Stewart] had the hot hand at the end of the season. He's a great running back, obviously, uh, I don't feel bitter at all. It's a business."
Still something to give?
Williams promised to follow in the footsteps of Steve Smith - himself released this time last year by Carolina - and come strong with a new team in 2015. At present though it is unclear which team that might be.
The veteran though, like fellow free agent RB Chris Johnson, will have to prove to any potential suitors that he still has what it takes to become a key cog in any NFL offense.