Never mind that new Denver Broncos defensive tackle Sylvester Williams arrived in Denver wearing a red tie. He’ll learn the ropes quickly. Williams stepped up in front of the local media for the first time at Dove Valley.
“Honestly, when I [saw] the ‘303’ area code, and it said ‘Colorado’ I picked up the phone, and once they started talking I honestly couldn’t talk because I was in tears,” Williams said of being selected on Thursday night. “I was so excited.”
Williams took the non-traditional route to the NFL. Initially, he wanted to be a basketball player.
“I actually thought I had a little bit of Michael Jordan in me, but I soon figured out I didn’t,” Williams said. “Once I got to high school—I actually played basketball my senior year, but I used to get frustrated because [coaches] told me they never wanted me to shoot the ball. They told me, ‘[Play] defense and rebound.”
Williams didn’t start playing football until his senior year in high school. He was a natural and he had the size, but he decided to take a year off after he graduated to work in a radiator factory.
“At the factory I had several different jobs. Some days I would lay the mold which is basically dropping the shingles for the guys to make the radiators. That’s what I started off doing. As I developed along I started to push tubes through the radiators which are what the water flows through. I also put the lids on the top of the radiators with a solder.”
That job was enough to make Williams realize that he wanted to go back to school and get a degree. When football season rolled around again, Williams noticed that many of the college players were around his size (He’s currently 6-3, 317 pounds).
Williams enrolled at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He described his time there as the foundation for his career.
“Coffeyville was one of the best places I had been at the time because I had a place to stay and I didn’t have to work a job, I could just focus on school and football,” Williams said. “So when I went to Coffeyville, I told them I’m going to start a new life. I went in there and gave them everything I had in the classroom as well as on the field.”
That was enough for him to transfer to Florida State where he contributed right away and recorded two very impressive years on the football field.
Williams was a sure-fire steal in the first round. He wasn’t expected to last until No. 28, when the Broncos selected him. Williams also wasn’t supposed to succeed to the point where he would be a first round pick. He was bound for factory work without a college degree. Like Micahel Jordan, though, motivation and habit were clearly this kid’s strong suit.