It’s very difficult to stand out on a team that wins only 35 percent of its games.
Yet, Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams did just that.
In his ten years in the desert, the Cardinals went 56-104, had just one winning season and one trip to the playoffs. Yet Williams made the Pro Bowl six times and was a First Team All-Pro twice.
Those accomplishments, coupled with four more stellar seasons for the St. Louis Rams that included a NFC championship in 2001, were enough for Williams to get the call from the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this month.
“All the finalists were brought out to New York and we were required to be in a room, which I hated being in a room waiting on the call,” Williams told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday morning. “My least favorite thing to do when I played in the NFL was to go to the locker room two hours early and sit.”
Williams admitted to being a bit rebellious — he and his wife actually left the room to go shopping instead of waiting for the call.
“When we didn’t get a call at five o’clock, I thought maybe I wasn’t selected,” he said. “About 5:15, we walked over to the hotel and the Hall of Fame officials were in the lobby and they said ‘the deliberation has taken longer than it ever has, they still haven’t made the call, we need you to go up to your room.’
“Probably around 5:30 I got the call from (C. David Baker), who heads up the Hall of Fame, and as he was talking, I’m looking at my wife Tracy, and I start crying and she starts crying and then after we hang up the phone, we immediately got down on our knees and gave the Lord our thanks and praise.”
Williams will be enshrined in Canton in August as part of an induction class that also includes Michael Strahan, Derrick Brooks, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Walter Jones, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.
The former third-round pick out of Southern University is 20th on the all-time NFL list for career interceptions with 55 and his nine interception returns for touchdowns are fourth on the all-time list.
In addition to playing on plenty of bad teams with the Cardinals, Williams also played at the same time as Deion Sanders, a Hall of Famer who is widely regarded as the best cover corner in pro football history. Yet, Sanders wasn’t known as a physical corner who loved to tackle. Williams was.
“LeRoy Irvin, who played corner for the Rams, he tweeted something right after the Hall of Fame induction,” Williams said. “He said, ‘in my generation, the best cover guys I’ve ever seen were Deion Sanders and Darrell Green.’
“‘The most complete corners I’ve ever seen were Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams.'”
Williams will become the first player drafted by the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals to be enshrined in Canton.