Getting to live your childhood dream isn’t the kind of thing that just happens to people. Say, as a purely hypothetical example, that you’re a kid who went to school at DeMatha and grew up rooting for the Redskins. You played football at the nearby University of Maryland, but went undrafted in the NFL.
Even if some team wants you, there’s no guarantee it’ll be the one you rooted for as a kid.
Even if that team does want you, there’s no reason to assume you’ll make the roster.
Even if you do make the roster, you probably won’t ever be active on gameday.
Even if you are active on gameday, the odds against you actually playing are still pretty slim.
And even if you do play, it’s probably not going to be against your favorite team’s biggest rival on the turf of their brand new stadium. I mean, that kind of thing just doesn’t happen.
Except to Edwin Williams, I guess.
“I feel like sometimes somebody’s writing my story for me, you know,” Williams said today. “The only thing that could be different is that I just wish we could’ve won that game yesterday. It’s different watching the game, but when you get into it, it hurts even worse.”
Much to his surprise, Williams even managed to avoid butterflies when he was called into action, at least initially. “To be honest, I wasn’t nervous at all, strangely enough,” he said. “I’m usually Mister Anxiety, but I wasn’t nervous at all until I got to the huddle and everybody was like, ‘You got to go out there and punch people in the face!’ all this, ‘play hard, keep your head back!’ All this stuff.”
He stopped for a beat, remembering. “Then I was like, ‘Okay, I’m nervous now.'”
But the nerves didn’t show; Williams, despite playing guard and not what still thinks of as his natural position of center, played a solid game. Which is, of course, not the way he sees it. “I think it was kinda 50-50,” he said of his performance. “I think as far as my effort, you know, fight, I guess the line was good. But there were some times that I messed up, didn’t get the job done as well as I would like to. But that just comes with playin’ the first game, you know?”
Williams’ teammates were supportive of the decision, even though none of them expected the move to be made, and that also helped calm the potential jitters. “The good thing was, the offense was a hundred percent behind me,” Williams said. “They weren’t like, you know, ‘Don’t mess up,’ or anything. They were just, like, ‘Go out there and ball,’ you know? I guess they think I’m a good player, so I just wanna live up to my reputation.”
There was a lot that Williams was trying to keep in his mind during his first regular season action — “I’m like, ‘Hands up!’ ‘Head back!’ ‘Stay square!'” he said — but in the end, one of the toughest was understanding what center Casey Rabach was saying.
“You can’t really hear Casey sometimes,” Williams told me. “I don’t know if people’ve ever told you that. He gets to the line, he’s like ‘RRRRRRGRRRRRARRRBLAH!’ You’re like, ‘What?!? What’d you say?’ He’s like, ‘RRRRRRGRRRRRARRRBLAH!’ [I just said] ‘All right, all right, yessir.'”
Rabach laughed when I told him what Williams had said. “It seems to happen every time we’ve got a new guy in there,” he said. “They’ve gotta kinda get used to me and the way things go. You know, I’m not the most verbal of guys. I’m not the most grammic– gram– grammatically correct. I grunt and groan.”
This is, of course, patently untrue. Rabach is one of the media’s favorite go-to quotes on this team; he’s pretty much always got a pithy one-liner and is willing to offer a pretty unflinching take on even the worst performance. If you go through day-after-the-game stories from the last few years, I’d bet Rabach is quoted in three-quarters of them, and I said as much to him.
“Sure, sure,” he said. “But out there, everything happens so fast that you’re just like, ‘RAM46 and let’s go!’ It’s not like, ‘Hey, Edwin, we’re going to forty-six and let’s ram this dealio.’ It’s just ‘RAM46’! It’ll take some getting used to, but he’ll figure it out eventually.”
And that’s something Williams understood even without having to figure out what Rabach was saying. “”The story’s just begun,” Williams said. “I got a lot more hard work to do.”
Tags: Casey Rabach, CaseyRabach, Edwin Williams, EdwinWilliams
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