By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
Published October 28, 2005
TAMPA - Cadillac Williams remains questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers, but there doesn't seem to be much doubt in the minds of the Bucs that he'll play.
Williams showed no ill effects of a sprained foot during Thursday's practice and could make his first appearance in a game since Oct. 2.
"He's a hard guy to get any information from," coach Jon Gruden said. "He's like Fort Knox, you know what I mean? You've got to see him in high gear to really see for yourself where he is. But I thought he ran well and showed some explosive change today. We are optimistic."
It's the first time Williams has made it through two full practices without a setback since before he injured his left foot against the Bills Sept. 18.
"It's the first live action we've seen from him in some time," Gruden said, "so we're just going to keep him as questionable but let everybody know we are optimistic, we are encouraged by what we see.
"I thought he practiced good. We'll list him as questionable just because we think it's the thing to do, but we're optimistic that he'll play in the game."
JUST IN CASE: Running back Michael Pittman, who is coming off a 127-yard rushing performance against the Dolphins two weeks ago, hopes he is not an afterthought if Williams returns.
"I hope so. Really, I hope so. But I'll leave that up to Gruden," Pittman said. "If I'm not, I never complain about that. When I get my opportunity, I'm going to make the most of it. But being honest and truthful, of course I want to be involved. I think I can make plays in the running game, make plays in the passing game. Use me any kind of way. As long as I get my hands on the ball, I'll be happy. But if not, if Cadillac is the main guy, I'll go with that, too, man, and wait for my opportunities to play."
While Williams was setting an NFL record with 434 rushing yards in his first three games as a pro, Pittman rarely saw the ball. In the four games that Williams played before being sidelined by the injury, Pittman carried just 13 times for 79 yards.
"The first three games, I barely touched the ball at all, man," Pittman said. "And getting to start a home game, I was just fired up and ready to go. I really don't consider myself as a backup. Even though I am a backup, I consider myself as a starter in this league and if Cadillac goes down, I'm already prepared to step up and have a big game. And the confidence I have now and with my confidence, I think all my talent is finally showing."
INJURIES: Safety Jermaine Phillips practiced again Thursday after recovering from a broken thumb and is probable for Sunday's game. "(The bye week) came at a good time," Phillips said. "I get a good four weeks under my belt and we're going to be good going to San Francisco."
Safety Dexter Jackson is out with a hamstring strain.