Williams Eager for First NFL Game

It started with a dream and a week from today it will turn into reality. Former ASU linebacker Jamar Williams may have surprised some by getting drafted in the fourth round (120th overall), but he has certainly earned his spot on the Chicago Bears. Devils Digest caught up with the NFL rookie as he prepares for his professional debut.

"I'm ready to go," said Jamar Williams. "I think I did well in the pre-season. I could tell that each game I was getting better and feeling more comfortable. I wanted to progress during the pre-season games and I felt that I really did that."

The 6-0 234 Williams started at out at weak-side linebacker, but ultimately was slotted at strong-side linebacker where he runs today with the second team, backing up four-year veteran Hunter Hillenmeyer. "The biggest adjustment for me was breaking old habits," he stated. "I had a lot of little technique things that I needed to change at this level, because you're playing against much better athletes." Williams mentioned that he is also seeing action on the kickoff and punt special team units.

Overall, Williams said that he doesn't feel that the transition to the NFL hasn't provided many surprises, and it does help to never forget one underlying concept. "The only thing is that football is now a job," he commented. "You realize that you're in a business. Sure, every team wants to win the championship, but they also want to make money."

The time commitment to the game of football is naturally quite different than what he has been used to. "At ASU you devoted a lot of time to studies," said Williams. "Here it's all about football and it's a job. I'm obviously putting more time into football than I did at ASU, but once you're done for the day you have more free time for yourself. I don't have to worry about study hall or tutors. It's a different lifestyle."

Williams pointed out that he has been getting support from his fellow linebackers in learning the tricks of the trade. "Hunter Hillenmeyer who I play behind, Brendon Ayanbadejo (who backs up Williams) have helped me out," commented Williams. "Lance Briggs has helped me out too. But I'm a rookie and some things I have to learn on my own too." And when it comes to Briggs, a former University of Arizona player, it's hard to not bring up the fierce rivalry of both of their schools. "We don't talk too much smack, but we do reminisce a little about the ASU-U of A games we played in," said Williams. "I'm sure we'll be going a couple of rounds in November, though (smile)."

Speaking of his alma mater, the 2005 Insight Bowl Defensive MVP said he only got to see highlights of the ASU-NAU game. He was particularly happy to see his old high school teammate and current ASU cornerback Chris Baloney score on an interception return to give the Sun Devils the lead for good. "I was very proud of him," he said.

The Chicago Bears linebacker has settled in his new surroundings and has bought his first house a couple of weeks ago. "It's a lot of work taking care of all that," he admitted, "but it's been fun. Chicago is a very nice city. I'm really enjoying it here."

"I just need to keep on adjusting and keep on getting better," continued Williams. "It is a dream come true, and sometimes it does still feel like a dream. But it will become reality after that first hit in the first game, and then I'll realize that I have to step up my game and be the best I can be at this level. When my opportunity comes up, I have to take advantage of it and play well."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories