UNC announces Williams' medical hardship

CHAPEL HILL ----- University of North Carolina tailback Andre' Williams has received a medical hardship and will no longer play football. He will remain on scholarship and continue to work with the Tar Heel program as a student coach in 2003. Williams, an Academic All-ACC performer in 2001, is on schedule to graduate next May.

"I'm disappointed that Andre' will be unable to continue playing football," said UNC head coach John Bunting. "Just two years ago, Andre' was our No. 1 tailback and was instrumental in leading our team to the Peach Bowl. His contributions both on and off the field will be missed. He's a tough football player who loves football. He has expressed an interest in making a career in athletic administration and his input as a student coach will be helpful this season."

Williams had back surgery prior to the 2002 season, but returned to play in the first four games of the year before lingering back pain sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He participated in spring practice this year, but the back pain persisted.

"I met with Dr. Taft after spring practice, and following his evaluation, I decided that if I continued to play football, it could be detrimental to my long-term health," said Williams. "I discussed this with my parents and we came to the conclusion that it would be best if I stopped playing football. I still love the game and look forward to being involved in another aspect of the Carolina program."

Williams was a significant contributor in his first two seasons at Carolina. He was one of just four true freshmen to see playing time in 2000 and was the team's leading rusher in 2001 when Carolina went 8-5 and finished third in the Atlantic Coast Conference. As a sophomore, he started eight games at tailback and rushed for 520 yards on 170 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 25 yards. That year he rushed for a career-high 147 yards and scored one touchdown in Carolina's 24-21 win over Virginia. Last season, he had just nine carries for 21 yards.

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