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Brandon Williams Welcomes Leadership Role 'With Open Arms'


Brandon Williams won't catch anyone by surprise anymore.

He's no longer just the guy from small-school Missouri Southern State who can walk on his hands and used to clean porta potties. He's now the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL, and he's well aware of the expectations that come with that distinction.

"With great power comes great responsibility," Williams said Monday, a few hours after signing his new contract in General Manager Ozzie Newsome's office.

The area where Williams expects to take the biggest step forward next season is in terms of his leadership.

He's always been a fun-loving person who gets along with just about everybody at the Under Armour Performance Center, and now he plans to accept additional leadership responsibility "with open arms."

After an agreement was in place, Williams stopped by team headquarters Friday to get some paperwork figured out and celebrate. He and Head Coach John Harbaugh talked and joked around in Harbaugh's office for an hour or so.

"He said, 'It's pretty nice in here,'" Harbaugh joked. "I said, 'Hey, you can come in here anytime you want, now especially. I expect you in here.'

"That's the next step. Something like this comes with great responsibility. As a coach, you relish trusting a person like this with that kind of responsibility and the leadership role that comes with this opportunity."

Williams certainly isn't shying away from it.

"I'm ready for the challenge, ready for what's to come," he said. "But I'm not really nervous about anything. It's just kind of what's expected of me."

Getting a big contract naturally leads to having a larger voice, and he'll join veterans such as Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, Marshal Yanda and Joe Flacco as players who carry significant weight in the locker room.

Williams stepped up from a leadership standpoint last season after the Ravens moved on from veteran defensive end Chris Canty, who was the leader of the defensive line group for the previous two years. When Williams first arrived in Baltimore in 2013, Baltimore still had perennial Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, and he was the clear leader of the defensive line.

Williams started to become more vocal last season, and now that he's the one with the massive paycheck, he knows younger players will be looking his way for their cues.

"I just really feel that this year I'm really going to put it on my shoulders to get the job done up front," he said. "Just get the job done day in and day out because we started [as the No. 1-ranked defense], and we didn't finish No. 1. It's time to finish and get to where we need to go."

Williams has already gone to work motivating some of his teammates. Now that he knows exactly where he'll be, he's reached out to defensive linemen Carl Davis, Brent Urban and Michael Pierce to let them know what he expects out of their group next year.

"I just kind of told them, 'Let's get ready to go,'" he said.

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