Brett Favre isn't the only Viking that has been thinking about retirement for some time now. Pat Williams, who is three years and two weeks younger than Favre, talked about retiring last year.
The problem is that the Vikings were so close to the Super Bowl that Williams (and likely Favre) isn't quite ready to quit something he enjoys so much. During the season, he said he'd retire if the Vikings won the Super Bowl. After the season he said he was 50-50 on retirement.
"It was just all frustration, because the game is easy. … The game part is easy," he said after five months to digest the NFC Championship loss. "That was just all mental and frustration at the time. I was just tired. It was close and I just got mad. All frustrating."
The obvious next question is this: What would happen this year if the Vikings failed to win the Super Bowl?
"I still might quit. The media has been good, the fans have been good. Everybody has been good to me. I don't have any complaints being here," he said.
Williams, who originally signed with the Vikings in 2005 after spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Buffalo Bills, is in the last year of a contract that was extended in 2007. He makes it sound as if he'll retire after the 2010 season no matter what happens.
"That's what I'm thinking, go on and win the championship and go on and get out of here," he said.
Last year, Williams entertained reporters in front of his locker as he talked about his dream scenario. The Vikings win the Super Bowl and Williams walks off the field peeling off one piece of uniform after another and throwing them to the fans as he uniquely marks the end of his career.
"I ain't going to be all naked," he said with a hearty laugh when asked about that story. "I'm going to have the socks and tights on, but everything else is good."
He confirmed that 2009 would have been his last year if the Vikings would have ended up as Super Bowl champions – "I would have quit, yeah," he said – but he's back to try for that elusive ring at least one more time.
He was back at Winter Park for organized team activities, although he was limited in his on-field work because of an elbow injury that still required a brace in May and June when he was practicing. Most of the time, he would just stretch with the team and go back to rehabbing his injury and lifting weights.
After 13 years in the league and four in the same defense with the same teammates, Williams has absorbed most of the mental parts of the game. Minimizing the wear and tear on his oversized body, especially at this time of the year, takes precedence.
"I've been playing a long time. I just learn watching film," he said before answering a question about his physical health.
"I'm good. Everything's good," he said, pointing out that he's back to lifting weights after working on his elbow.
But the main reason for his return has little to do with money – he is due to make almost $6 million in salary and bonuses if all goes well in 2010 – and mostly to do with something he hasn't been able to earn in the previous 13 years: a Super Bowl ring.
"I was having fun," he said at about the end of last season. "I just want to win. I was just owning it. It was there. You could just taste it. It was right there and we didn't make it."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Pat Williams talks retirement … in the future
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