GLENDALE, Ariz. – Talk to anyone now about Aeneas Williams and the stories pile up.
Reporters, teammates, coaches -- they all have humorous anecdotes that have defined Williams’ career. But when Kwamie Lassiter joined the Arizona Cardinals in 1995, all he saw was a Hall of Famer in the making, a cornerback who treated practice receivers as if they were Jerry Rice or Michael Irvin. Williams was as serious about his football, watching endless tape hours after the film session as over, as he was his faith and his family.
Lassiter had no clue how funny Williams was.
“He’d tell more jokes than anyone,” Lassiter said.
Williams, a pastor in St. Louis, would always tell clean jokes, but they were always funny, Lassiter remembered. Even when his teammates told the same jokes, but the inappropriate version, Williams’ jokes still provided comic relief. And the jokes seemed to get even better when the mood was most tense, such as before a big play on the field.
“We’re in the midst of the game and he’d lighten up the mood and say something crazy,” Lassiter recalled. “He seems always serious that you think he’s not paying attention and this guy tells me a joke.”
Lassiter said Williams’ humor is most comparable to that of Peyton Manning -- subtle and dry and, at least when Manning first hit the comic scene, unexpected. Lassiter expects Williams’ Hall of Fame speech, which he’ll present this evening in Canton, Ohio, to display his humor.
“If there’s anybody deserving of the Hall of Fame, it’s that guy,” Lassiter said. “I can’t wait for the jokes.”