View Full Version : Broncos Interview.
12-08-2006, 05:44 AM
I didn't see this posted, but I was browsing the Denver Post website-
"I think people would say I'm a guy who enjoys life. I'm a big jokester. I like to have a good time. That I'm a good friend who tries to be as honest as possible. ... (Offense) was my first passion, my first love. I always felt like I was an offensive player. I kind of got tricked into playing defense. The coaches said, 'We'll give you the ball as long as you play linebacker for us, too.' I was young. I said, 'OK.' I liked playing defense. It was fun. But I liked running the ball a lot more."
Klis: Most football fans know about two high school football teams: their own high school and De La Salle. How did you end up there?
Williams: I had a friend named Chris Hodoh. We played basketball growing up all through AAU, 10 years old on up. He went through Catholic schools and his father talked to my mother and said, "I'm going to send my son over here to play basketball." So I initially went to De La Salle to play basketball.
Klis: You wound being the deal in football. Some guys are high school All-Americans. Then there's you. Somebody named you the best high school defensive player in the nation. None other than John Madden said you're the only player he had seen who could go from high school to the NFL. When you get all that publicity at such a young age, is it hard keeping a level head?
Williams: Not really. I think it depends how you're brought up. My mom used to talk to me about being humble. And I got more of that from my high school coach that last season. He helped me keep a level head.
Klis: Your family's football pedigree is something else. It must be, what, one in a million to have a kid playing in the NFL? But between you and your two brothers playing big-time college football, your family has to be one in, I don't know, two million. Do you talk them much?
Williams: Yeah, I talk to them once or twice a week. Right before their games, so they can tell me which channel they're on. What time the game starts.
Klis: How did you wind up at Miami? That's about as far away as it gets from home.
Williams: At the time, the Pac-10 wasn't that strong. The only teams doing good were USC and Washington. And I didn't want to go to SC. Northern California and Southern California are totally different. We, like, compete against each other. That would have been like going to enemy territory. I wanted to go to a big-time program that was playing on TV all the time. I had all this hype about being a great player and I wanted to go see if I could play with the best athletes in the country.
Klis: Your school's football program always had this rough, tough reputation. And then it had that big on-field brawl with Florida International a couple weeks ago. What did you think?
Williams: I hated to see it. I thought guys could have handled it better. We do have the label of being tough guys and starting stuff. It comes from how we play the game. We're out there hitting. We're talking and messing with people. That's all part of the game and having fun. But that other stuff, fighting and swinging helmets, that's going too far. You don't need that.
Klis: What's home life like?
Williams: My mom and sisters live out here with me. I moved them out. It's nice to have my family around. Come home and have home-cooked meals. It's nice to not have to plan to get all these things before I go out of town.
Klis: You have any hobbies, things you like to do?
Williams: I'm really into music. I'll look up music, listen to it, download it, make CDs. And I like to play cards with the guys.
Klis: What kind of music do you like?
Williams: I like all music except heavy metal. There's a few heavy metal songs I can stomach, but not much.
Klis: How about when you're done playing? Given that any thought?
Williams Yeah, first of all, if everything goes well, hopefully I can get everything set up so I can retire. But I plan on doing something in sports. Sports training, training athletes, football players. I've always liked lifting weights and working out and I'd like to teach guys about getting bigger and stronger.
Klis: There have been times when you have seemed a little guarded with us media types. I think this type of setting will help people get a better idea of the real you.
Williams: The whole thing with the media, it's not like I have anything personal against you, but sometimes I feel like they ask questions they already know the answer to. Let's say you come up to me after practice and say, "How do you feel about the next game?'' I mean, what player is going to say, "To tell you the truth, we looked at the film and they're better than us. We're not going to come out and perform as well as we should"? Everybody says the same thing - "Hey, we had a great week of practice, we're anticipating a good opponent, we're going to give it our best shot."
Klis: Hey. You have a cool way of looking at things. I'll have to tell my media friends that you're quite insightful once we get to know you.
Williams: I got kind of a bad taste during that whole process when I was getting recruited out of high school. I felt like people didn't respect my private time. I understand the media is an extension to the fans. It's just we have good days and bad days just like everybody else. People think just because we're pro athletes we should be a certain way. Sometimes you don't feel like talking.
Klis: What was your reaction on draft day when Denver took you in the first round?
Williams: To tell you the truth, I was little shocked. During the whole process before the draft, they hadn't contacted me. But once I got here, I was glad it ended up this way.
12-08-2006, 05:45 AM
Real calm. Very understanding. A person you can trust. I have a lot of confidence. I don't talk about it a lot - I'm not cocky. It's not like I think I don't have to work at it. I mean, I know I'm gifted, but I know I have to work hard to be the best I can be."
Klis: Let's start with the most obvious question. How did "Champ" come about?
Bailey: There's really no good story. I was 2 years old, so I really don't know. My mom said they just started calling me Champ. She really can't tell me why, she just said they always called me Champ.
Klis: In a town of about 2,100, where was the big Folkston hangout when you were in high school?
Bailey: After the game, it was Hardees. People are going to laugh at this. It was very simple.
Klis: You're on your way to your seventh Pro Bowl in seven years. Phil Simms says you remind him of Darrell Green. Most people think Deion Sanders is the standard. I'll say this: One thing you have that Deion didn't was a willingness to tackle. Were you taught early to stick your nose in there?
Bailey: It was weird, in college and my rookie year, I would hit anybody, anytime. Then I got around Deion (in 2000) and watching these guys who didn't like to tackle - I kind of lost that part of my game. Then after my third season, I told myself: "I cannot be like that. That is not me." I love contact. I just kind of stepped up and matured and realized I wanted to become a complete corner instead of just a guy who could cover well.
Klis: Who are your best friends?
Bailey: My brothers.
Klis: How did their influence shape you as a person?
Bailey: I looked up to my older brother. He was always good in school, always good in sports. He didn't say a whole lot, but he was a good player in high school and college. I kind of followed his footsteps. I knew how he did things. And when I got to the point where he had been - high school, college - I told myself I have to do it as well as or better than he did. Now that I think about it, I always measured myself against my older brother.
Klis: Broncos fans ought to send Ron Bailey some thank-you cards. Tell me about mom and dad.
Bailey: Dad worked at the post office. I think he was a mail handler. If you want to start from the beginning, he was in the army when I was real young. I lived in Germany when I was 2 through 5. Mom worked several little jobs. Great lady. She pretty much raised us. Her and my dad got divorced when I was 13, and we lived with my mom. Her responsibility was pretty much us kids.
Klis: Let's go back to 16 and your first car. What are you driving?
Bailey: An '81 Ford Fairmont, if you've heard of that. That thing would smoke up the whole street. It cost me $3 of gas to get to school and $3 of gas to get me home. And that's when gas was 70 cents a gallon.
Klis: What was it like playing for Steve Spurrier when you were with the Redskins?
Bailey: Being from Georgia, everybody asks me that. It was an experience, but the guy was a good coach. He had a good relationship with the players. I think he's a little stubborn at times, but what coach isn't? We really didn't have the talent to win in Washington.
Klis: What did you know about Colorado before you were traded here?
Bailey: Not a lot. I had the same impressions everybody else had coming from the East Coast - it snows all the time. That's the only thing I thought. People don't realize all that snow is mostly in the mountains. But I love it here. It's not as fast as D.C.
Klis: What do you like to do when you're away from here? Do you have a hobby?
Bailey: I probably shouldn't say it, but I'll say it, anyhow. I like to ride my ATVs. Not during the season, but offseason. I'm not a crazy guy - I wear a helmet.
Klis: Don't worry, you won't get in trouble. Coach Shanahan rides motorcycles.
Bailey: Yeah, we've talked about that. He goes riding up in the mountains, too. There are trails up there, a lot of different places.
Klis: Shudder to think, the day will come when you won't be an NFL player anymore. Then what?
Bailey: I'm going to do what I love to do. And what I love to do is be lazy. (Laughs.) I'm not going to want to move around too much, travel too much, be around family. When I leave the game, I should be financially set.
Klis: You're sitting here, 7-2. I know you guys really do take them one at a time, but are you keeping one eye on the big prize, the Super Bowl?
Bailey: Definitely. Look at my locker. All those interception balls, game balls, Pro Bowls are nice. I love that stuff because they show appreciation for what I do. But personally, I want the big one. If I don't get that, my career will be ... My career will keep going and going until I get it.
12-08-2006, 05:47 AM
"Funny. Outgoing. Friendly. People probably think I'm weird because I'm friends with everybody. In college, high school, grade school, I hung out in all different kinds of groups and cliques. I try to be friendly with everybody and sometimes that gets me in trouble."
Klis: What do you remember about your childhood in Denver?
Bell: I remember pretty much everything. I went to school at Teller Elementary. I remember going to school, and then going to the after-school program at the junior high. Me and my brother would go over there and play. Play sports.
Klis: You had to pick up your life at 11 years old and go to a different state. Were you upset about the move?
Bell: Very upset. I grew up here, all my friends were here, I had fun here. I loved the snow. The stories I heard about all the scorpions and lizards and how hot it was, I didn't want to move to Arizona. I didn't want to meet new friends. When you're little moving to a different state, it's a drastic change.
Klis: Your dad was in the military. What did mom do?
Bell: She was an actress.
Klis: Really? What's her name?
Bell: Linda Bell. It was funny, driving downtown the other day I saw the theatre with those big figures on the grass and it brought back memories. I remember that was the theater she used to always be at.
Klis: You're talking about the Denver Performing Arts Complex. You remember any plays she was in?
Bell: I remember she was in "The Grapes of Wrath," "A Raisin in the Sun." Those were the ones I remember going to, but I know she used to do a lot. She was usually the main character in all of them.
Klis: What other sports did you play in high school?
Bell: I did everything: basketball, track, football. I tried soccer until I got hit in the nose by a ball. I tried heading the ball and it hit my nose. I said enough of that. Then they have to run 4 miles before practice. I said, no way. So I swam.
Klis: So you're not one of those guys bemoaning how soccer moms are taking over the world and soccer is for wimps.
Bell: Oh, heck no. If you watch the World Cup, you'd see that. I think rugby and soccer players are tougher than football players. All that running back and forth, you get kicked in the shins, concussions.
Klis: I heard you on the radio the other day say you had a rather strict upbringing.
Bell: Definitely. My parents were strict on me because I was the youngest. I'm not saying my older brother and sister messed up, but they did all the things that prepared my parents to not let me do.
Klis: Were you one of those kids who was always grounded?
Bell: I was never grounded, I just wasn't allowed to do anything. My brother was two years older than me, and once he left the house, I was a sophomore or junior in high school and I couldn't do anything. I remember when my brother was in high school he could stay out 'til midnight. I had to come right home after school. After the game, I couldn't go hang out with my friends.
Klis: What do you like to do away from Dove Valley?
Bell: I like to watch movies. Up until the last couple of weeks I've been going to my old elementary school and reading to little kids. But I feel bad because lately I haven't had much time during my off days. I've had so much to do.
Klis: Did you get your degree at the University of Arizona?
Bell: Three classes away. I'm going back in January. I'll have to start late if we get to the Super Bowl. I could take them online, but I want to finish up there.
Klis: What were you planning to do with your social science major? That is, before your NFL career took off like it has.
Bell: I wanted to do something in the police force, but I don't want to be around violence my whole life. That would be a drag. I think I'm going to get my master's in business or something.
Klis: What was your first car?
Bell: (Laughs) A Buick Century.
Klis: Hey, why are you laughing? Me and my gray hair are driving a Buick Century now.
Bell: Mine was older, I think a '96 at the time. That one got messed up and then I got a Durango. And that one got stolen. My Trailblazer got wrecked. And now I have a (Nissan) Titan truck. I've had that for a while, but there for a while, I went through four cars in four years.
Klis: Does it bother you that here you are rushing for 135 yards against the Colts, and only making $255,000? I mean, that's big money to me and most people reading this. But when you consider the millions these high draft picks make, you're playing on the cheap.
Bell: Not bothered at all. I'm having fun. I know if I keep working hard, eventually the money will come. Right now my focus is on my role on the team.
Klis: Any significant other you'd like to mention?
Bell: I'm single and looking.
12-08-2006, 05:49 AM
"If football didn't work out, I'd have been a schoolteacher, no doubt. Everyone in my family, they're all educators. I think that environment rubbed off on me in other ways, as far as my personality, helping out people. I like to communicate with kids. You can't treat every kid the same way.You have to treat them all different."
Klis: You're done with Dove Valley on Friday. What do you do?
Lang: I always go get a haircut.
Klis: Every week?
Lang: Every week. And then I go to my favorite restaurant, which is a grocery store, Whole Foods. Whole Foods is the best store ever. Everything is natural and organic. I go in there and eat my lunch and dinner. I love going in there. They make the food right there in front of you.
Klis: Any hobbies?
Lang: I like playing video games. I like watching reruns of Martin Lawrence on DVD. And I like watching TV. My two favorite channels are A&E -that has "Cold Case Files" and "The First 48" and the History Channel.
Klis: You were drafted in the 43rd round by the White Sox as a first baseman in 1996. How close were you to signing there?
Lang: I thought about it at first, but football, you're already in The Show. Baseball, you've got to wait three or four years in the minors. I'd rather get that sure money instead of that not-for-sure money. What was funny about that, the day the White Sox drafted me, we were outside playing basketball. My mama said, "The White Sox called." I said, "For what?" She said, "You got drafted." I said, "Oh, OK."
Klis: What was it like having Mickey Mouse in your backyard?
Lang: It was cool. We would go to Disney World a couple times a week during the summer. I kind of wore Disney out. The main thing about Orlando is, as fast as you want to be, as slow as you want to be, you can ride a horse, go to the country and pick oranges. Or you can go downtown and enjoy the city. So Orlando has a little bit for everybody.
Klis: What was your favorite theme park at Disney?
Lang: I pretty much liked Epcot. It was a little more educational. I found Epcot a little more interesting. Disney was cool and all, had all those rides. But I liked seeing all that water at Epcot, especially going from brillo pad to brillo pad.
Klis: Tell us about your folks.
Lang: My mom and dad both went to Florida A&M University. Both of them are retired educators. My mom used to be a principal at Pinewood Elementary, and my dad used to be a district administrator. He used to handle expulsions. At high school and junior high, any school in the district that had an expulsion, he'd make sure it was legit. If it was, he'd take it to the district board.
Klis: So I take it your father was not one kids wanted to mess with.
Lang: There was discipline in my house. There were no skip days. They always knew when the progress reports would come out.
Klis: I know you came out early for the NFL draft, but something tells me you went back to finish up your liberal arts degree at Miami.
Lang: I've got one more class. That was an agreement I made with my mama when it came to leaving school early.
Klis: What class do you have to take?
Lang: It's an elective. Anything I want. So it might be underwater basketweaving, who knows? Just something I can get an "A" in.
Klis: Any family besides mom and dad and brother?
Lang: No wife, no kids. I remember my dad told me if I wanted to have kids before I get married, that means I better be ready to become a full-grown man. Quit all the sports and get you a full-time job. So since he told me that I decided to stay a kid and not quit sports.
Klis: You didn't get your first car until your senior year, and then it was a $500 AMC Roundabout. What about your sophomore and junior years? Did you use mom and dad's car?
Lang: I had to ask for permission. Usually I got my dad's car, but I'd use my mama's car if I had a date. Dad had a van. So you can't take a van on a date. My mom had a Cadillac.
Klis: How about when football's done. Got any plans?
Lang: Travelin', man. I'm going to buy me an RV. Travel the country and enjoy. I'm looking forward to going to big-time games and tailgating.
Klis: Professionally, you were at the crossroads after last season. You were converted to outside linebacker last year. Then you're released. You're 31 years old. This was a show-me year for you.
Lang: Things happen for a reason. If they were happy with me, I'd probably still be there playing for them and being miserable. So in a way, I'm glad you said I played awful and released me because now I'm here.
Klis: You don't hold back when it comes to celebrating your sacks. Those are some moves you have. How'd you come up with that sack dance?
Lang: The Show Stopper? I don't know, I was messing around with my mama one day. My mama showed me that move. I kind of put it together. It's just something for the fans.
12-08-2006, 05:52 AM
"I believed in myself and stayed at it. A lot of people didn't believe in me, but I kept believing in myself. I always told everybody since I was 8 years old that I was going to play in the NFL. I just stayed focused and stayed positive. ... A lot of times, Mom had two jobs. So I was left to hang around friends or cousins. I was running the streets, getting into trouble. I was going down the wrong way for a while."
Klis: So to review your upbringing, there's no dad around, no older siblings for influence, and all of Broncoland can see you're a rambunctious sort. I'm guessing you were a handful and then some for Mom?
Williams: Oh, yeah, a lot of times, Mom had two jobs. So I was left to hang around with friends or cousins. I was running the streets, getting into trouble. I was going down the wrong way for a while.
Klis: How old were you during your wild years?
Williams: Probably from the time I was 12 until I was 17. I was hanging around the wrong people. I was hanging around gang members. The local Crips had people I called friends.
Klis: Uh, excuse me while I gulp.
Williams: I wasn't really a Crip, or part of any gang, but some people might have thought I was because I was affiliated with some of them.
Klis: What pushed you away from that life?
Williams: I went to church one day and the preacher said something about praying every night. He said: "I know a lot of you go home and get drunk or whatever. But even if you don't have a simple life, try every day to pray to the Lord. Get a relationship with Him." And I started doing that. I started praying every day at my home, and even though I wasn't going to church all the time, I started believing more, and I think that's what stopped me from going down the wrong road.
Klis: Sounds like a song. Or good public-speaking material. Do you speak to kids, share your experiences?
Williams: I do that a lot here. What I want to do this offseason is go back home and talk to kids. It's hard back there because of all the violence, drugs. It's right there in your face. When I was growing up, there'd be people doing drugs right there in front of us kids. I just want to tell them they don't have to be like that. Believe in yourself.
Klis: You couldn't have been all bad in your teenage years. You started for a pretty good high school football team as a freshman. In basketball, you start varsity as a freshman point guard. You were a big-time sprinter in track. Sports must have helped save you, too.
Williams: Yeah, because coaches always stayed on me. When I was in high school, skipping classes and stuff, coaches would get in their cars and ride around trying to find me. They finally got across to me that I needed to buckle down. Coach Criss and Coach Williams, they talked to me like I was their son. I remember one day my senior year, they said: "Look over here. Those guys are doing the same thing they did in high school. Is that what you want to do, or do you want to be somebody different?" That hit me.
Klis: You turned out to be a smart guy. The media likes to interview you because you always give smart, honest answers. Let's say football didn't work out. What would you have done?
Williams: I think I would have been in an office somewhere, an office manager. I've got my own entertainment company now, a record label. Ryno Entertainment. We've got a CD about to come out in the next couple of weeks.
Klis: Who's on it and what kind of music?
Williams: It's got some local artists from back home. We've got rap and we've got a little R&B.
Klis: What do you like to do away from Dove Valley?
Williams: Bowling. I like the movies. I like Dave & Buster's. I go to Dave & Buster's a lot. Shoot some hoop, play games, relax.
Klis: I remember when I was covering baseball five or 10 years ago, the players' parking lot was full of Hummers or fully tricked trucks, or brand-new BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, whatever. But, now I understand you're into refurbished older cars.
Williams: I've got a '96 Impala. I grew up around a bunch of thugs and gangs, and that used to be their car. They used to put the rims on them and paint them up and make them look so good. I said then, "That's what I want." I wanted to fix it up just like they did. And that's what I did.
Klis: I know you didn't make a ton of money when you signed, but did you help out Mom?
Williams: I bought her a house. A house and a car. It was an old-school car, but she's got a nice house. Housing's a little more affordable in Fort Worth. I think her house is nicer than mine.
Klis: You got another special lady besides Mom?
Williams: No, I'm single and looking. I have two kids. A son, Darius. He's 7. And a daughter, Jaelyn. She's 4. They live with their mom in Texas. I have a good relationship with their mom. We're not together by any means, but we don't give each other a headache like I hear some of my teammates talk about. I feel like I've got a better deal than a lot of people.
12-08-2006, 11:46 AM
some good stuff.