Eleven months in the past, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Vince Williams introduced he was strolling away from the NFL. It had been a turbulent offseason, one which noticed him minimize in March and re-signed in April. On coaching camp eve, Williams introduced he was stepping away from skilled soccer, ending a stable profession for any participant, not to mention a sixth spherical decide.
Appearing on The Arhur Moats Experience with Deke podcast Monday, Williams opened up why he determined to step away from the sport. It got here down to 2 features: well being and cash.
“Essentially I became a cap casualty,” Williams stated. “I got cut, I explored other free agent options. I looked around and didn’t want to play anywhere besides the Pittsburgh Steelers. So I came back. But when I was there, it was just different. I was a little older, it was harder. You get up in age, your body starts hurting. I had torn my quad muscle in the second Browns’ game and played with a torn quad in the playoff game. So I was still trying to recover from that when I first got cut.”
The extent of Williams’ damage hadn’t beforehand been reported, although he did present up on that week’s damage report with the quad damage he referenced. He missed Wednesday’s apply however returned in full the remainder of the week, logging 35 snaps within the Wild Card loss to the Browns, recording seven tackles. They can be his last NFL snaps.
When Williams returned to Pittsburgh in April, it got here at a diminished worth level, signed to a veteran profit deal at simply over $1 million. He pointed to that as one purpose for deciding to stroll away.
“Taking a huge paycut took all the wind out of my sails, bro. It really was like I was obsolete. When I came back to the building, I didn’t see where I fit, where I belong.”
Williams admits he knew the group was attempting to develop Devin Bush and Robert Spillane, Williams saying he was “happy for” the 2 of them, and that he was nearing the tip of his soccer profession. Not eager to be a “spiteful vet,” coming off an damage, and taking part in for much much less cash led him to stroll away . A greater different than placing his physique via one other full season.
Despite the early retirement, Williams had a heck of a NFL profession. He went from unheralded sixth spherical decide considered as too gradual for the league to spending eight years in Pittsburgh, progressing from ace particular teamer to thumping inside linebacker and making up an amazing duo alongside Ryan Shazier. His profession was successful story and one in every of Kevin Colbert’s greatest Day Three gems, rating because the twenty fifth greatest decide Colbert ever made.
Williams was trustworthy about his quick post-retirement life, opening up concerning the powerful transition from taking part in soccer his total life to sitting at residence on Sundays.
“I fell into a deep depression. Mostly because I honestly felt like I was still the most talented and productive middle linebacker on the team…I had a sense of uselessness. I’m like ‘man, I’m not useful no more.’ My entire life I’ve been a football player, I’ve had a role for me. Now there’s no role for me.”
He described feeling caught “in limbo” on the group, too priceless for Danny Smith on particular groups however not priceless sufficient to carve out an everydown defensive function. In latest months, Williams has appeared to fill that void, moving into teaching and selecting up a job as Pine-Richland High School’s linebacker coach. He additionally advised the present religion and prayer have helped him really feel higher about his function and objective however admitted he nonetheless struggles with an “identity crisis.”
Moving on with life’s work isn’t straightforward and Williams remains to be only one yr faraway from a job he had and did nicely for therefore a few years. Time will create more room between him and taking part in soccer. It’ll additionally create new experiences and assist solidify his objective not as Vince Williams the soccer participant however Vince Williams the individual.
Check out the entire interview beneath.
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