Former Packers cornerback Charles Woodson — who will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in April — spoke highly of 36-year-old veteran Tramon Williams in a recent interview with The Athletic for a story about the current playmaker’s surprisingly strong and potentially final season. Williams has played 761 defensive snaps as the team’s No. 3 outside cornerback while tallying 39 tackles, eight passes defended, a forced fumble and two interceptions.
“You hate to say ‘at his age’ because it kind of automatically diminishes what you do,” Woodson said in a phone interview Thursday, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. “I’d just say he’s playing good football … just watching him out there running and flying around along with these young guys. To me, it’s fun to watch because he’s still out there making plays.”
Williams won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in 2010, but his time with the franchise was almost bookended with an infamous beat in overtime of the 2014 NFC Championship Game. Williams gave up a 35-yard touchdown to Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse that sent the Seahawks to their most recent Super Bowl berth, a play that seemed destined to be his last in a Packers uniform after he departed in the offseason as a free agent.
Now, heading into Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, Williams has at least one more chance to leave a playoff impression with the fanbase, even if it proves to be his last.
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Williams’ Career Could be Coming Full Circle
Williams was considered the best available cornerback on the market when he became a free agent after the 2014 season, but the Packers reportedly offered below what he was seeking and let him walk on a three-year, $21 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.
In his first season of what ended up being a two-year stint with the Browns, Williams played under current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine while he was serving as head coach. Pettine was fired in January 2016, while Williams lasted until 2017 before being released in favor of younger talent. He spent one more season with the Arizona Cardinals before the two would be reunited in Green Bay in March 2018.
Williams was offered a two-year, $10 million contract — $2 million more than their offer in 2015 — and supplied the Packers’ safety room with a steady veteran presence that became even more valuable once the team added Adrian Amos and rookie Darnell Savage Jr. as starters coming into the 2019 season. He’s impressed everyone, including star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who weighed in on what Williams has brought to the team during Wednesday’s chat with reporters.
“From the first day he got back here, he’s got that ‘wow factor, and he always has from the first time he was in here,” Rodgers said. “Not many guys are able to do it for that long. … He’s a very steady guy in the locker room, he always has been, but he’s a man of wisdom as well. I think what helped him out was playing with Charles (Woodson) and being friends with Charles, he has the same type of charisma as Charles.”
Wherever the postseason ends for the Packers, it could mark the end of Williams’ 14-year career with retirement a possibility for the seasoned cornerback. But not before he gets one last shot at redemption against the team that left him burned in his last playoff appearance.
“Just talking to him and knowing what he’s thinking, it would be nice if this is going to be his last year to send him out the right way,” Rodgers said.