Steelers CB Williams Looking for Role

Cornerback Willie Williams, who saved the Steelers' Super Bowl chances nine seasons ago, wasn't signed by them to save them again. They haven't even told him they would save him a roster spot.

Williams, 33, will have to earn his way back onto the team that drafted him in the sixth round in 1993 from Western Carolina, and that's OK by him.

"I'm just bringing veteran leadership," Williams said. "I'm just here to help the younger guys out to understand the defense. I'm also here to get a role so I can get on the field. I feel I can contribute in some way to this football team."

The Steelers have two veteran starters, Chad Scott and Deshea Townsend, at the position and two prized youngsters behind them Ike Taylor, their fourth-round draft choice in 2003, and Ricardo Colclough, their second-rounder this year.

Taylor looks to be their No. 3 cornerback so, unless he falters, Williams is looking at the No. 4 or 5 jobs.

"We have a lot of talent," Williams said. "It's just about understanding the defense and being comfortable. And playing instead of thinking, go and react, that's the biggest key for them."

It was Williams' quick reaction in the AFC championship game in January 1996 that put the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Indianapolis had the ball and a three-point lead when Lamont Warren took a handoff on third down and headed to the left with no defenders in front of him. He might have scored a touchdown and surely would have gained a first down had Williams not raced from his left cornerback position to run Warren down from behind, short of the sticks with about three minutes left.

The Steelers got the ball with three minutes to go and Bam Morris scored the winning touchdown from the 1-yard line to give them a 20-16 victory.

Williams left the Steelers as a free agent in 1997 to join Seattle. The Seahawks released him this year and he signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh in May.

With linebacker Jason Gildon gone, Williams now represents Pittsburgh's only player link to their only Super Bowl visit in the past 24 years. He has been reunited with Dick LeBeau, who has rejoined the Steelers as their defensive coordinator, a job he held when they last visited the Super Bowl.

"I get a lot of questions how it was in the Super Bowl," Williams said. "As long as I can share some of things that happened to us in '95; hopefully it will rub off and help us get into the championship this year."

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