He’s got an entire team clowning him about his age.
Steelers players have started singing "Happy Birthday" to Williams at the beginning of practices, a nod to his 33 years on earth. Williams’ birthday is April 25, but fans have started joining in because they hear the players singing it.
Defensive end Cam Heyward started the trend, telling Williams “that’s my way of honoring how old you are as a back,” Williams recounted. Williams is the fifth-oldest player on the Steelers, behind backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (33), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (34), long snapper Greg Warren (34) and linebacker James Harrison (38).
“I don’t think it’s funny, but everybody else thinks it’s funny,” Williams said with a laugh. “What’s the worst is somebody comes up and has no idea and is like, ‘Hey man, happy birthday,’ and I’m like, ‘It’s not my birthday,’ and they are like, ‘Well, why did somebody say happy birthday to you?'"
Heyward even wished Williams a happy birthday while Williams conducted media interviews Monday, prompting Williams to jokingly yell, "When are you going to grow up?"
Williams didn’t play old in 2015, recording 907 yards and 11 touchdowns on 200 carries in relief of Bell, who missed 10 games for suspension and injury and is set to miss up to four more games with an NFL suspension for missed drug tests. Bell has appealed the suspension, and the Steelers expect to hear the results around mid-August.
Williams said the foot injury that sidelined him from the playoffs is now healed and he feels as fresh as ever.
“There’s no difference for me whether [Bell is] here or not. I’ve always had to prepare that way,” Williams said. “Being the backup, as they call me, I have no pressure at all. Everybody’s always going to have questions, and that’s what I love about it. It went from, ‘Can DeAngelo fill in the role?’ to, ‘How long can he hold up?’ to, ‘Can he keep doing it?’ There are always going to be questions -- I know that. I’ll let my playing answer my questions."
Williams said he has purposefully ignored any developments with Bell’s suspension so he can’t answer questions about it. Most Steelers are taking the wait-and-see approach.
“So for people to be down or upset or things like that -- knock that off, man,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, he’s still going to be able to play football, and he learned from his mistakes. We’re not even sure in this case that he made a mistake. We don’t know the complete story.”