Parkland Press

Monday, July 16, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland graduate Andre Williams (second from right) spent most of this season on the San Diego Chargers practice squad. He was called up in October but a wrist injury ended his season. Copyright - DONHERB                                               PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland graduate Andre Williams (second from right) spent most of this season on the San Diego Chargers practice squad. He was called up in October but a wrist injury ended his season. Copyright - DONHERB

Williams is enjoying NFL journey

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 by JEFF MOELLER Special to the Press in Sports

In his first two games with the Los Angeles Chargers, Andre Williams didn’t have a carry.

Yet, he didn’t really mind.

The former Parkland High and Boston College standout running back was adjusting to his new surroundings on the West Coast with the Chargers as well as a few other things.

He also discovered how small this world can be.

After spending his first two years with the New York Giants, Williams signed a free agent contract with the Chargers last season and spent the majority of the 2016 season on their practice squad.

This past fall, he was one of the team’s final cuts and found himself back on the practice squad to start the season.

Ironically, he was activated prior to the team’s game in New Jersey Oct. 8 and the winless Chargers won both of their next two games.

“Football has a way of making your life interesting and funny,” said the 25-year-old Williams. “It’s like when your old girlfriend dumps you and you get a new girlfriend. Now, you want to show off with your new girlfriend.

“I figured I might be up with club, but I really didn’t know for sure until Thursday.”

Over the past year with the Chargers, Williams has had a rather uneventful ride. He finally was called up during the last game of the 2016 season and responded with an 87-yard, 18-carry performance against Kansas City.

In the preseason, Williams rushed for 51 yards on 33 carries.

“It has been a journey,” said Williams of his stay with the Chargers. “I had a good game when I finally got called up last year. I thought that would help me.

“But I know more about what the deal is and more about the NFL. I’m just going to keep plugging away and getting better. I have the opportunity every day to play the game and I also do have an opportunity to go against our [first team] and get better.

Acclimating himself to the West Coast has been somewhat of a challenge.

“Leaving your family behind and going as far west as you can go was an adjustment,” said Williams, whose wife Carol and 19-month-old son Barron are living in New Jersey. “While I have been here (New Jersey), I got to spend some time with my son. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him. He is so perfect to me.”

Since he was the Giants’ fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, Williams continues to develop clothing, currently involved in a denim line. He also has been exploring sports-related items.

Williams understands football has a short shelf live.

“I have been working on all kinds of stuff,” he said. “I will feel better when I can get myself more stabilized. But I am an entrepreneur, so I don’t stop making things.

“I used to play PlayStation, but then I thought I was wasting my time. I felt that I needed to do something to better myself. I decided to get into apparel and manufacturing and I really like it. When I first moved to the West Coast, I put everything on pause. But now, it has picked up again.”

Williams sees a different situation with the Chargers than his time with the Giants. Williams gained 987 yards and scored eight touchdowns in his two years with the Giants.

“There is a totally different vibe here,” he said. “The West Coast is much slower and relaxed. Everybody is much more relaxed than the East Coast. People will stop and say hello. Hollywood is still superficial.

“This organization is different than the Giants. They do things differently. We’ll see what happens here.”

Whether it is football or business, thought, Williams will make the most of it.

Williams suffered a season-ending wrist injury shortly after that game in New Jersey and missed the rest of the season.