DeShawn Williams played just his fifth-ever regular season NFL game on Sunday against the Bucs.
The last four times were four years ago as a Bengal.
Since then, the 2015 undrafted free agent has spent time on-and-off practice squads for the Bengals, Broncos, Dolphins, Colts, Broncos again, the Calgary Stampeders (what a great name) and now finally the Broncos once again.
This third stint with the Broncos proved extremely useful Sunday when Williams came into the game and immediately made an impact with a batted down a pass of the future HOFer Tom Brady.
Talking with Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright on Broncos Country Tonight, Williams admitted that he couldn’t get to Brady to sack him, so he put his hands up in the air.
“It was a simple rush call and we know Tom likes to get the ball out quick,” he said. “I couldn’t get there quick enough so we deflected the ball and it was a big third down.”
Williams, who played about 40% of the snaps Sunday, is definitely not taking this chance to play for granted.
“It’s for sure a blessing. Going through it, you ask why but now finally getting the opportunity to play is just a blessing,” he said. “It’s one of those things you just sit back and laugh and think about the hard work and early morning workouts and remember thinking ‘when I do get me chance just make the most of it.’ And I think that’s what I’m going to do. It was looking cloudy but the sun is finally peeking through.”
Knowing that fellow defensive linemen Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris have gone through some similar “prove-it” moments in their NFL careers, Williams is just making sure he stays hungry especially as two of NFL’s worst-record teams fight it out Thursday night.
“They play hard, and they’re going through the same thing we are. The talent is more than the record shows,” Williams said. “You can throw records out the window when it’s Thursday night. They’ll give it their best shot; we’re going to give it our best shot, and it’ll be who wants to win more.”
Hopefully that’s the Broncos. Williams pledges to do his part in that.
“I’m not a rookie, but now I’m getting what I asked for, and it’s going to be a bigger role but I couldn’t have asked for more,” Williams said, noting that a big part of playing in Denver’s defense is earning Vic Fangio’s trust.
“The thing about Vic is you got to gain his trust, and that’s hard sometimes,” he laughed. “He’s an old-school coach, but I think I did a great job [Sunday], and I’m going to continue to do that. I just love that man. Him and Bill [Kollar] just gave me the opportunity, so how can I not give my all?”
Williams added that even though the injuries have been hard on the team and the losses haven’t been what they expected, the young guys come from a lot of successful college programs and they’re used to winning too, so he expects the veterans and young guys alike to change the team’s course.
“I think we do have the right people to get the job done,” he said. “We’re going to get it turned around. We’re going to get that changed.”