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Powell out to make most of opportunity with Cardinals

POSTED August 13, 2012 10:30 p.m.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All William Powell wants is a chance.
The former Kansas State kick returner/running back had his college football career cut short nine games into his senior season in 2010, when he suffered a ligament injury in his foot.
“It was a devastating injury at the end of my senior year at K-State,” said Powell, who is trying to land a roster spot with the Arizona Cardinals. “Fortunately, I was able to have a great rehab and come back quick and got a chance to come here to Arizona and play.
“I’ve just put it in my mind to take advantage of it and run as hard as I can every chance I’ve got.”
Powell made the most of his opportunity during the Cardinals’ preseason game with the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Duncanville, Texas, product had a game-high 92 yards in nine carries and scored one of Arizona’s pair of touchdowns on a 2-yard run during a 27-17 loss to the Chiefs.
 “Oh man, it was amazing,” Powell said. “I was so ecstatic. My first NFL touchdown and hopefully, I can get many more.
“We were in the shot-gun and it was a zone play to the left and if it’s not there, we can’t audible out of it. We had to stay in it. They gave me the ball off the left end and I saw a little crease and I just decided to get to the goal line.”
Powell, who also had a game-best 67-yard gain against the Chiefs, is getting a chance this preseason as 1,000-yard rusher Beanie Wells returned to practice late last week after coming off the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Wells, who had 1,097 yards and 10 touchdowns last season despite a sore knee, underwent offseason knee surgery.
Powell originally signed with the Cardinals on Aug. 22, 2011, although he was released on Sept. 2. He later was re-signed to Arizona’s practice squad on Dec. 21, 2011, and has stuck with Cardinals since.
“I probably put on more muscle,” Powell said. “I’ve been working on my body a lot since I’ve been at Kansas State.
“I had great trainers there. I worked with them there a little bit in the offseason. I trained hard and made it an emphasis to try to tone my body up and get it right.”
Powell rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns in 23 carries during the 2010 season while backing up two-time Big 12 Conference rushing champion Daniel Thomas (2009-10), a draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.
Powell’s calling card with the Wildcats was his nation-leading kickoff return average of 34.6, which landed him third-team All-America honors by, as well as being an honorable mention selection by Sports Illustrated.
“I led the nation for most of the season my senior year at Kansas State,” Powell said. “If the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready to step in.”

Clayton trying to stick, too

Journeyman Thomas Clayton is also trying to land a roster spot in the Cardinals’ backfield. He finished with 14 yards in three carries against the Chiefs.
Clayton, who was originally drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in sixth round in 2007, has had three stints each with the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. He also had a short stint with the Seattle Seahawks.
Clayton (5-11, 220), who transferred to Kansas State from Florida State in 2004, was the backup for Darren Sproles during his first season with the Wildcats.
Clayton later led the nation in rushing after three games in 2005 (164.5 yards-per-game average) before he was arrested after an altercation with a K-State campus worker after a wheel lock was placed on his vehicle for not paying fines.
Falling from grace under former Kansas State head football coach Ron Prince, Clayton left the team after playing in four of six games during his senior season in 2006.


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