Welcome in to another edition of ‘Where are they now?’ in which we look back at some past Denver Broncos who left a lasting impact on the franchise but perhaps are not as widely remembered by fans as Ring-of-Honor type legends
In this edition, we’ll check in on former defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, who spent time with the Broncos from 2013-2016 and 2020.
Following a season in which new QB Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos back to becoming an offensive juggernaut, the team chose to focus first on defense in the 2013 NFL Draft. They did so by taking defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, who was coming off an All-American senior season at North Carolina, with the 28th pick of the draft.
At 6-2, 328 lbs., Williams would soon become a force on the interior of the Broncos defensive line, taking on double teams and being a valuable contributor in the run game with the ability to get behind the line for QB pressures as well.
In his four first years with Denver, he was a solid, consistent performer and reliable starter. His stats won’t explode off the page like, say, Von Miller, but his ability to withstand double teams and extra attention allowed guys like Miller more freedom to rush the passer and crowd the line.
His best seasons came in 2015, in which he was a vital part of the team’s #1 defense in route to a Super Bowl victory, and in 2016, where he had a combined 54 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
He would part ways with Denver in 2017, signing a three-year deal with the Tennessee Titans only to be released after one season. He continued to bounce around until he finally made his way back to Denver in 2020.
He’d spend time on both the practice squad and active roster for the Broncos that season, which would be his last, finishing his career with the team who drafted him.
What has Sylvester Williams been up to?
Following football, Williams chose to use his success and financial gains to serve a purpose within his community.
As the son of two parents who struggled with addiction, in 2019 Williams became owner of Quantum Laboratory, the state of Missouri’s first African-American-owned toxicology testing company.
“Since drugs played a big part in my life, I decided this was something I wanted to go after,” Williams told Sylvester Brown, Jr. of the St. Louis American back in early 2022.
His initial goal was to build a toxicology lab with the purpose of providing underserved or overlooked communities and drug rehabilitation centers. It was his belief that the combined services would be able to help addicts take back control of their lives and re-enter the workforce.
Yet, his goal become bigger when in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world. After officially going live with the lab with his $800,000 investment in fall of 2020, he realized that there were those within his community who had difficulty finding places to get tested. He wanted to help solve that.
Therefore, he decided to have Quantum offer antigen and PCR tests which he would explain are more reliable than at-home testing. He would further put his investment to work by partnering with other agencies to bring testing to disadvantaged areas in the region.
Williams, the son of parents who struggled with addiction, who was kicked out of high school his sophomore year for missing classes, who paid his own way to community college, would end up finding his way to a full scholarship at a prestigious university, a solid career in the NFL, and now is the owner of a group who intends to improve the health of his community.
If that isn’t overcoming odds and adversity, I don’t know what is.