For many athletes, big contracts quickly lead to expensive cars, luxurious vacations or lavish houses. For Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams, his $52.5 million deal will pay for something that is closer to his heart.
Williams' first big splurge will be a wedding.
Williams and his fiancee, Alyssa, had long been planning to get married this year. Now the party likely will get bigger for someone Williams said has been there for him during the good and not-so-glamorous times.
At the press conference following his signing, Williams recalled the time in college when he was setting up portable toilets in an Arkansas park and Alyssa brought him McDonald's breakfast. She sat on the back of the truck and ate with him.
"She has been there for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows," said Williams, whose fiancee sat in the front row of the auditorium. "I thank you so much for that and for being the loudest fan in the stadium on Sundays and just supporting me no matter what, but also [for] keeping me humble when I come home knowing that I am a future husband and father first."
Williams is one of the Ravens' best success stories. He went from being a Division II prospect from Missouri Southern State to one of the top nose tackles in the NFL.
Before Williams was drafted in the third round in 2013, only three players from his school had ever been drafted. One draft profile described Williams as a defensive lineman who "has enough talent to be at least a solid rotational tackle who could stick in the league for a while."
Now Williams is the anchor for a defense that has allowed the third fewest rushing yards (93.8) since he became a starter in 2014.
"It feels good to be, I guess, a role model to kids to see it does not matter where you come from or no matter what kind of cards you have been dealt, to know that as long as you have hard work and a strong mindset and just the will to work, then you can achieve anything," Williams said.
Williams' role will be expanded with the Ravens after he received more guaranteed money ($27.5 million) than any player on the team not named Joe Flacco.
On Friday, Williams sat on the couch in coach John Harbaugh's office for an hour as the paperwork for his new contract was getting worked out. Williams pointed out how nice it was to be in there.
"I said, ‘Hey, you can come in here anytime you want -- now, especially. I expect you in here,'" Harbaugh said. "That is the next step. With something like this comes a great responsibility. You don’t mind as a coach -- as a matter of fact, you relish -- trusting a person like this with that kind of responsibility and the leadership role that goes with this opportunity. It is exciting. I am thrilled that Brandon Williams is part of our championship run going forward.”
"I am really going to put it on my shoulders to get the job done up front and the front seven, day in and day out," Williams said. "We started No. 1, and we did not finish No. 1 [in 2016], so definitely, it is time to finish and get to where we need to go.”