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Former NFL standout Cary Williams proud to represent Washburn in MIAA shrine



 Former Washburn University star Cary Williams has a football resume that includes All-American laurels for the Ichabods and a nine-year career in the NFL, including a Super Bowl championship for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

Still, Williams was caught off guard when he got the call that he would be part of the MIAA'S 2022 Hall of Fame class, which was inducted last month in Kansas City, Mo. 

FXKqCcOWYAQ VEKFormer Washburn All-American and nine-year NFL veteran Cary Williams puts campers through a drill in Thursday's DBA Big Kev Community Give Back Camp at Shawnee Heights. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

"I was definitely surprised, it was an honor,'' said Williams, who was back in Topeka Thursday to help out former WU teammate Michael Wilhoite with the Big Kev's Community Give Back Camp at Shawnee Heights. "It's a privilege to even to play this game. I played with some great guys and some great opponents as well and just to be a part of something that's so historic and so monumental, it's just a blessing and I'm very grateful and thankful for the opportunity.''

Williams, who was inducted into the Washburn Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018, became the sixth Ichabod in the conference's hall of fame, joining Ewan Auguste, Bob Chipman, Shelley (Foster) Duffey, Trey Lewis and Nikki (Olberding) Greenawalt as well as the 2005 NCAA Women's Division II National Championship basketball team.

Williams, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound cornerback, said he was proud to be able to represent Washburn, where he transferred after beginning his college career at Fordham, in the MIAA shrine.

"Washburn was the place that gave me my opportunity,'' Williams said. "When everybody else kind of turned their back on Cary Williams, Washburn opened the door with open arms and coach (Craig) Schurig and his coaching staff were there for me.

"I played with some great, great talent and I wouldn't have been the guy that I am today without those individuals.''

In two seasons with the Ichabods (2006 and 2007), Williams recorded 11 interceptions, which is fourth on the all-time chart at Washburn, and his seven interceptions in 2007 is second on the single-season list.

Williams earned All-American honors from five different organizations as a senior, including one of eight Ichabods all-time to receive Associated Press Little All-America honors. He was also a CoSIDA and American Football Coaches Association first-team selection and a second-team pick by D2football.com and the Football Gazette.

Against Missouri Southern on Oct. 6, 2007, Williams became the only Ichabod to return a kickoff for a touchdown (100 yards), a touchdown reception (68 yards) and record an interception in a single game. His 25.52 yards per kickoff return is third all-time on the Ichabod career chart and his two kickoff returns for touchdowns are tied with Fletcher Terrell for the most all-time. Williams had 94 career tackles with 67 solo stops.

Williams was taken in the 2008 NFL draft in the seventh round by the Tennessee Titans and would play nine seasons in the NFL with the Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Washburn Redskins.

Williams, who recorded 352 tackles with nine interceptions and two touchdowns, won a Super Bowl title for the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, with Baltimore topping Wilhoite's San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.

Williams ended his career in 2016.

"I missed it for awhile but after awhile you just figure, 'Hey man, I can't physically do it anymore so it's time to move on,' '' Williams said. "I've got four children and you want to be present in their lives.''

Eventually Williams made the decision to follow former teammates Wilhoite, currently linebackers coach for the Chargers, and Joe Hastings, special teams assistant for the Indianapolis Colts, into coaching.

 "I've been doing a couple of minority internships with the NFL, one with Baltimore early in OTAs and mini-camp and then the next one I'm doing is with the Chargers (with Wilhoite),'' Williams said. "My father was a coach and he coached me through little league and my cousin who adopted me was a coach, so I guess I have the coaching blood. Ultimately I think it's mostly about the kids and I just want to come back and make an impact and give guys some positivity.''

Williams said Wilhoite and Hastings are great role models as he starts the next chapter in his career.

"Those guys are exceptional guys,'' Williams said. "They're very detail-oriented and those guys are A-plus guys outside of football and they really understand and are students of the game. They did a marvelous job playing and I think they do the same thing with coaching.

"They're just hard-working guys, guys who understand the game and guys who hold themselves to a certain esteem and guys you want to be around and build a team around and have leading your team, too.''

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