February 14, 2011
Feb 4, 2011 | Roy Lang III | shreveporttimes.com
RVING, Texas — The fall of Tramon Williams’ freshman year at Louisiana Tech was spent in the seats at Joe Aillet Stadium.
He was simply a football fan after dropping his childhood dream of playing in the NFL to pursue a college degree. However, the love for the sport and a yearning to have no regrets in life drove the Houma native and Assumption High School product to a bold decision.
Following the season, Williams approached Jack Bicknell, then the head coach at Louisiana Tech, with a desire to play for the Bulldogs.
The bold move resulted in an invitation to join 30 others as walk-ons during the following spring practice.
Only one survived to reach the subsequent fall camp — Williams.
Wednesday, the sudden star cornerback of the Green Bay Packers was one of six players assigned to a riser — to accommodate more press — at Super Bowl media festivities.
With six interceptions during the regular season and an NFL-high three in the postseason, Williams has made Packers brass look like geniuses after he signed a four-year contract (with an option for a fifth) worth more than $40 million.
Williams credits Bicknell and former Louisiana Tech defensive coordinator Randy Bates for making it all possible.
“I’m glad those guys gave me a shot,” Williams said. “A lot of schools, they just don’t let guys come out and walk on. I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“I love Ruston. I love Louisiana Tech.”
And we wonder why fans often say their teams would be better off “pulling a guy out of the stands?”
Williams was relegated to the scout squad in 2002 and didn’t see action for Louisiana Tech until the following season.
Williams hauled in his first four interceptions during the Bulldogs’ 2004 campaign. After three picks his senior season, the 5-foot-11, 191-pounder went undrafted — it was time to “walk-on” again.
The Houston Texans signed the free agent following the 2006 draft, but Williams failed to survive the final preseason cut.
Green Bay didn’t step in until six months later, but Williams began to shine after he saw his first NFL action in 2007.
“This is a first-class organization,” Williams said. “I’m glad I’m here; these guys gave me a shot.”
After one start in ’07, nine in ’08 and 10 last season, Williams started every game for Green Bay opposite veteran Charles Woodson.
“Tramon has really taken his game to the next level. His film study has probably been the area of biggest difference this year from last year in terms of his growth as a football player,” Green Bay secondary coach Darren Perry said. “That’s how you continue to be productive by continuing to find a way to get better each year. My hats off to Tramon.”
Williams was fifth in the NFL with six regular-season interceptions, but burst on the national scene in the playoffs. His late pick of Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick solidified the Packers’ Wild-Card victory. In the Divisional Round, Williams intercepted Atlanta’s Matt Ryan twice, including one he returned for a 70-yard touchdown.
“Those are game-changing plays,” said Williams, whose three postseason INTs lead the league. “That’s one thing we always talk about in the DB room and with the coaching staff — making plays in a timely fashion.”
Williams has always seemed to make the right decision at the right time, dating to the day he came out of the stands at Louisiana Tech to spark his journey to football’s greatest stage.
“It’s about the love in your heart,” Williams said. “I had to go out and give it a shot; at least know you gave it a shot and gave it your all. You know, I thank God I made that decision.” More >