CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - DeAngelo Williams wants to remain in Carolina.
The Panthers' all-time leading rusher said despite getting benched in Week 7 and not playing a major role on offense for most of the season he hopes to return for an eighth year in Carolina.
``I signed a five-year contract, so that in itself lets you know I want to be back,'' Williams said.
But Williams, who turns 30 in April, is the first to admit that's not his decision.
``The ball is not really in my court,'' Williams said as the left the stadium Monday morning.
Williams has three years remaining on a five-year contract worth $43 million that included a $16 million signing bonus. With Stewart getting a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension before the season and then being promoted as the team's starting running back, there has been was plenty of speculation about Williams' future.
He closed the season by setting a franchise record with a career-best 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Carolina's 44-38 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Williams started the team's final five games with Stewart out with a high ankle sprain. Carolina won four of those.
However, the Panthers finished 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
After struggling most of the season, Williams finished as the team's second-leading rusher behind Cam Newton with 737 yards on 173 carries and five touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 187 yards and two scores.
Williams said it was nice to finish the season on a positive note.
``We got more opportunities out of the backfield and that gives you more opportunity to be productive, and I think we showed our worth back there,'' Williams said. ``We have been clicking on all cylinders the last four weeks, so I don't think that's nothing new as far as production. But the way we produced as far as the run game opened a lot of eyes.''
Williams said he's not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on his future, particularly because the Panthers don't have a general manager in place.
``If there is any conversation that comes up, it's on the Carolina Panthers end as far as getting rid of me or just doing nothing and having me come back,'' Williams said. ``So there is nothing on my end that I can do. When I signed my signature on that dotted line I was planning on being here for five years. So the questions being directed toward me I can't answer because I signed a five-year deal.''
Williams said he plans to relax and spend some time watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Dr. McStuffins with his daughter.
``I haven't got to watch much TV lately,'' Williams said.
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