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Brandon Williams Went From The Porta-Potty To Throne


It's safe to say that Brandon Williams will never clean a porta-potty again.

It was a tears-of-joy weekend for the Ravens defensive tackle after he signed a five-year, reported $52.5 million contract to keep him in Baltimore.

It started with a phone call from his agent Thursday night, followed by another call from General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Williams and Newsome were so overjoyed that they still* *got a little choked up talking about it Monday afternoon.

"It was very emotional," Williams said. "This whole weekend has been emotional."

It's been a long, difficult journey for Williams, one that makes his big contract even more rewarding.

Williams, his mother and older brother grew up outside of St. Louis working hard to make ends meet. Sometimes they didn't.

During his freshman year of high school in 2003, the family packed up its belongings into a Pontiac Bonneville and bounced around between different relatives' homes. Williams stayed with football teammates' families overnight, where the growing football player could satisfy his large appetite.

Williams' mother, Shelly, worked various minimum-wage or slightly above jobs. She worked brake presses, assembled air conditioners and drove busses.

When Williams left for college, his mother had imparted the lessons of hard work. Even though he was starring on Missouri Southern State's football team, he still worked a part-time job cleaning and hauling porta-potties. He did that for three summers and didn't quit until just eight months before he became a third-round pick of the Ravens in 2013.

After his first NFL practice, Williams told reporters that his small-school background wouldn't make a difference. "All you guys, D-1's, wherever you're from – I'm going to play as hard as you, play better than you, and I'm here to stay."

Four years later, now as the NFL's highest-paid nose tackle, those words ring true. Williams reflected on that journey during Friday's press conference.

"I want to thank my mom for just raising me the best she could and me and my older brother," he said. "She is my hero. Just waking up every day and seeing how hard she worked just to provide for us – it ties into me being so humble."

Williams also thanked his fiancé, Alyssa Karel, for sticking by him during those college days. He specifically referenced a time when she brought him McDonalds breakfast one day at work and sat on the back of the porta-potty truck and ate it with him. His first big purchase will be to pay for their upcoming wedding in July.

"She has been there for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows," Williams said.

Williams got the call about the Ravens' offer from his agent Thursday night. When he heard the contract number, he was stunned.

"I was trying to hold it in, but I just broke down [crying]," Williams said.

Karel was in Newsome's office with the couple's two young children when he signed the contract. He looked at them and thought, "We're set."

"I am surprised I didn't cry up in Ozzie's office, because I have been crying so much this weekend, starting from the call and then with the cake," Williams said.

"I just have been reminiscing looking at my kids, seeing that they never have to go through what I went through growing up. Growing up, it was tough. I had everything I needed, not everything I wanted. But at the same time, there were definitely some big-time lows growing up. … Just the extra hard work I had to endure just to get to where I wanted to go, it all paid off. That is a wonderful and amazing feeling."

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