Aeneas Williams

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Aeneas Williams
Aeneas Williams.jpg
Aeneas Williams in 2004.
No. 35
Cornerback / Safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1968-01-29) January 29, 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth: New Orleans, Louisiana
Career information
College: Southern
NFL Draft: 1991 / Round: 3 / Pick: 59
Debuted in 1991 for the Phoenix Cardinals
Last played in 2004 for the St. Louis Rams
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles 795
Interceptions 55
Touchdowns 9
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Aeneas Demetrius Williams (/əˈnəs/; (born January 29, 1968) is a former American football cornerback and free safety, who played with the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Southern University and was drafted in the third round (59th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft.[1]

Early life[edit]

Williams was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended the now defunct Alcee Fortier High School, where he played football on a team with three future NFL players.

College career[edit]

Williams attended Southern University, the same school his brother Achilles attended. At Southern, Williams concentrated on his academics, not playing football until his junior year, as a graduate student. That year, he tied the NCAA Division I-AA record for most interceptions.

Professional career[edit]

Despite playing only one year in college, Williams' numbers impressed the then-Phoenix Cardinals enough that they selected him in the third round of the 1991 NFL Draft, Williams quickly established himself with an exceptional rookie season, tying the NFL lead for interceptions. In 1994 he led the NFL in interceptions with 9. By 1997, Williams had already notched four Pro Bowl appearances and had established himself as the Cardinals' top cornerback, routinely covering the opponents' lead receivers. In the 1998 season, Williams helped the Cardinals win their first playoff game since 1947 by intercepting two passes from Troy Aikman in a 20-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, and added another interception in the Cardinals 41-21 loss in the divisional round. Despite playing mostly for bad teams (1998 was the only time he played on a winning team during his 10 years in Arizona), Williams was recognized as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, making six Pro Bowls in all as a Cardinal. He is regarded as one of the best defenders and players in Cardinals history, as well as one of the greatest shutdown corners of all time. In 2000, he tied an NFL record by returning a fumble (caused by Mark Maddox) 104 yards for a touchdown in a game against the Washington Redskins.

In Week 3 of the 1999 season, Williams delivered the hit which ultimately ended Hall of Fame San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Steve Young's career. Williams came in on a cornerback blitz from Young's blindside and scored a violent, but clean, hit on Young. Running back Lawrence Phillips was supposed to block Williams, but missed. This occurred on national television, a Monday Night Football game, and left Young unconscious on the field for several minutes. Young suffered a severe concussion that effectively ended his career; he didn't play again for the rest of the season, after which the 49ers all but forced him to retire.

In 2001, Williams was traded to the St. Louis Rams on draft day in exchange for picks in the second and fourth rounds.[2] Due to roster concerns, Williams switched to free safety. As one of the leaders of a much-improved defense, Williams got a chance to play in a play in the postseason for only the second time in his career. In the Rams divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers prior to the Super Bowl, Williams returned two interceptions from Packers quarterback Brett Favre for touchdowns and recovered a fumble. Then in the NFC title game, he intercepted a pass from Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, with 2 minutes left in regulation, clinching the game and ensuring the Rams' berth in Super Bowl XXXVI. However, the Rams lost that game to the New England Patriots.

After a lackluster season, in which he ended on the injured reserve list, Williams quietly retired during the 2005 offseason. Over his career he accumulated a staggering 12 defensive touchdowns (9 interceptions returned for a touchdown, and 3 fumbles recovered for touchdowns), and 55 career interceptions, cementing his place as one of the most dominating defensive backs of his era. He also recovered 23 fumbles and gained 1,075 total defensive return yards (807 from interceptions and 268 from fumbles). He was also a 4-time All-Pro selection. His 268 fumble return yards are an NFL record.

Though the teams he played on rarely made the playoffs (Williams had just 3 playoff seasons in his 14 years), Williams made the most of his postseason opportunities when they occurred, intercepting 6 passes and recovering one fumble in his first four playoff games.

Life after the NFL[edit]

Williams was inducted into the Arizona Cardinals' Ring of Honor during the 2008-2009 football season during halftime of the Monday Night Football game against the San Francisco 49ers November 10, 2008.[3]

On January 18, 2009, Williams was chosen to present the George Halas Trophy to the Arizona Cardinals after their victory in the NFC Championship game, resulting in the Cardinals first trip to the Super Bowl.

Williams is currently the founding pastor of Spirit of the Lord Family Church in St. Louis.

Williams made his final appearance in a football videogame in NFL Street 2. Williams and his wife, Tracy, have daughters Saenea (Aeneas spelled backward ), 11; Tirzah, 9; Cheyenne, 3 and a son : Lazarus, 6.[4]

He was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012; finalists were announced on January 9, 2012.[5]

On February 2, 2013, Williams failed to get voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[6]

On February 1, 2014, Williams was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aeneas Williams". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ Pro Football Weekly
  3. ^ AZCentral.com "Williams to Ring, McKinnon to Hall"
  4. ^ What's up with Aeneas Williams
  5. ^ "Ex-Cardinals defensive back Aeneas Williams a finalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame". az central. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ Corbett, Jim (February 2, 2013). "Parcells, Carter finally make Pro Football Hall of Fame". USA Today. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 

External links[edit]