Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fear is what prevents people from growing

Aeneas Williams, an eight-time Pro Bowler who retired four years ago and today serves as a preacher in St. Louis, is described by his former coach Mike Martz as someone with "quiet confidence, unshakability, and resolve."

In this article, Coach Martz "said he found his conversations with Williams helpful, including one after the Rams lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots and began with an 0-5 record in 2002."

"I think what happens, as a head coach when you lose the Super Bowl, you come back and you're so intent on fixing it and going back and winning it, that, you know, I was just not myself," Martz said. [Aeneas] helped me understand that I was not the same coach or the same person I was in the past. He's one guy I trust completely to be absolutely honest with me."

The article describes how, "during a recent sermon at his nondenominational Christian church, Williams talked about how he didn't want to play for a new defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan, before Ryan started coaching him in Arizona. Williams realized he had been scared the coach would make him cover standout players by himself, without a back-up. Ryan, Williams noted, coached him to his first All-Pro season."

"Fear is what causes people not to grow. But you never know it because it hides so well," said Williams.

While at Southern University, "one of his coaches was asked if Williams was good enough for the NFL. The coach said Williams probably wasn't fast enough, running a 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds."

So he got fast enough.

Williams started training with the fastest runner he knew from the track team and the other athlete's high school coach during school vacations.

In 1990, he had 11 interceptions, a tie for the most in the nation that season.

As a pro, Williams, who was named to the NFL's 1990 All-Decade Team, recorded 12 defensive touchdowns and is a member of the Arizona Cardinals' "Ring of Honor."