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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams is in the second year of the five-year, $43.5 million contract yet his future in Carolina has never been more uncertain.
The thought of staying a Panther never really crossed my mind because the thought of leaving never crossed my mind. In my mind, I'm going to continue being a Panther until told otherwise.” -- DeAngelo Williams
Williams was benched two weeks ago for Jonathan Stewart and has just 13 carries for 37 yards in his last two games.
After Carolina's 23-22 loss to Chicago on Sunday, Williams wrote on his Twitter account: "Well I guess I get to see if all the trade rumors are true or false this (week)! Stay tuned."
On Wednesday he said he's not paying much attention to the trade talks. The deadline for NFL teams to make trades is Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
"The thought of staying a Panther never really crossed my mind because the thought of leaving never crossed my mind," Williams said. "In my mind, I'm going to continue being a Panther until told otherwise."
Panthers interim general manager Brandon Beane said the team is not shopping Williams, or any other player. Beane said no teams have contacted him this week about Williams, but league sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Carolina has been contacted in recent weeks by teams around the league inquiring about the availability of Williams.
The biggest obstacle in a trade is Williams' contract. His $5.25 million salary this season is guaranteed, meaning any team that trades for him would be on the hook for $2.6 million in the second half of the season.
But that's still considerably less than the $19.5 million that Williams made last season, after he signed an extension that after this year still has three more seasons and $18 million on it.
"You never know, but we are not looking to trade anybody," coach Ron Rivera added. "We're really not. We need everybody we've got. We'll see what happens when we get to Thursday."
Williams said he's not sure why he was benched.
He said he's trying to make the best of his opportunities and trying to remain patient.
"I'm one of those guys where when my number is called I'm going to try to make the best of it, whether it's as a starter or in a backup role." Williams said.
Williams said he's frustrated with the team's 1-6 record, but sidestepped a question about whether he's frustrated with his role with the team.
"I can't call the plays and run them, too," Williams said. "I'm not throwing anybody under the bus. I'm not calling anybody out. I just try to make the best of my opportunity. Every play that we've drawn up is designed to score. And if we don't score on a play that's designed to score, then quite naturally you'll be frustrated."
Williams wouldn't say if wanted to remain a Panther, but he didn't say he wanted to leave either.
"Does it look like I want to be somewhere else? I'm going to let you guys (in the media) answer that," Williams said. "I'm going to leave it open for discussion. I'm going to try to get my Twitter followers up. ... It will be disclosed at 4 p.m. Thursday, so stay tuned. It will be breaking news at 4:05 p.m."
Williams has just 210 yards rushing through seven games, which puts him on pace for a career-low.
Rivera said Williams was upset when he first told of the demotion to a backup role, but said that's to be expected from a competitive player like Williams.
The coach said Williams has handled the decision like a professional.
"When the head guy says something, you just listen because there's not much you can say," Williams said. "As far as being a pro, I knew that I just have to continue doing my job."
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.