Former cornerback Cary Williams is officially retiring as a Raven after eight years in the NFL.
Williams was a starting cornerback on the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl team and most famously picked off Tom Brady to seal the 2012 AFC Championship.
Williams was a seventh-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008 out of Washburn. The Ravens signed him off the Titans' practice squad late in the 2009 season and helped him become a starter.
Williams started all 16 games and the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 for the Ravens. A long, physical corner who played with a chip on his shoulder, he perfectly fit into Baltimore's defensive attitude.
Williams inked a big deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and was a 16-game starter for them in back-to-back seasons. He then signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, where he started 10 games.
Q: How's life treating you now?
"Life is good, man. I can't complain. I'm a retired guy, three children now. Living good."
Q: Why did you want to officially retire as a Raven?
"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. Baltimore was my home. It was a place that was a special experience. Great family atmosphere. My teammates were top notch. I was able to learn and develop and flourish as an athlete there. Coaches basically groomed me. That place gave me an opportunity to start, an opportunity to work my way from the bottom up. I could actually see my hard work paying off and actually coming to fruition becoming that guy I wanted to be – which was eventually to become a starter at some point."
Q: How often do you find yourself reminiscing about those Super Bowl days?
"Often, man. Just thinking about mostly the camaraderie, the things we did in the locker room, the friendships and bonds that are unbreakable. Those memories are something that I'll never forget. We had a special group of guys from my 2009-2012 years. The locker room was just always buzzing. It was a fun environment. We went out there and competed and everybody wanted to hold each other accountable. That was the difference from other places that I went to. It was just a special place unlike any other."
Q: One play that sticks out is that game-sealing interception on Tom Brady in the 2012 AFC Championship. Can you take me back to the emotion in that moment?
"Well Tom Brady and the Patriots, they were the top dogs in the AFC. We knew the Super Bowl was going to have to go through them. Especially the year before, we had just lost to them in the AFC championship game on a dropped pass and missed field goal. That made the next time we played them extra emotional. You try to learn from all the things you did well in that last game and things you did bad. I think that it encompassed everything I was able to do as an athlete. It was just playing my role and doing whatever I could to help. I was just doing my job and Tom was throwing it up in desperation to a degree. I was just right there, I played the ball perfectly and it landed in my hands. I wanted to return it, but that wouldn't have been smart. Ray [Lewis] was saying, 'Get down! Get down!' It was an overwhelming experience, man. You pick off a legend like that and you do it in such a dramatic fashion as that to basically close the game out. It was something I wouldn't have dreamed of in a million years. I was just fortunate enough to have the guys around me to get that done. I was just fortunate enough to see the ball and catch it."
Q: Other than that play, which stands above the rest?
"Shoot, that's a great question. We had so many special moments that it's hard to pinpoint one. As far as team success, just being able to go to the Super Bowl and experience that with my family and teammates, it was a blessed feeling. It was the brotherhood that stood out most to me and I hold value to now when I think about it."
Q: How did Ed Reed mentor you?
"Ed was a guy that was always willing to help. Me coming in as a guy that really didn't know much of anything, he just welcomed me in. Every one of those defensive backs welcomed me in. Ed was a guy that always spoke about family unity, doing things together, being in it together. What would you give for your brother next to you? It's all about sacrifice and being willing to make that sacrifice for the man next to you because he's willing to do it for you. Ed Reed used to teach me about watching film and certain plays. I remember specifically the Browns game at home, it might have been a Thursday Night Football game. I got an interception for a touchdown as the first interception of my career. I remember that week Ed was talking about how he would go back to film older than the four weeks that we were designated to have for that game. He would go back sometimes to last year looking for big plays. I remember when [Travis] Benjamin ran this particular route, it was an out and up. He would motion down and he would do a funny motion. I looked at that one film and was able to see it basically because Reed pointed it out to me. When I saw that play in the game, I was like, 'Oh I've seen this before.' And they ran it maybe three, four weeks before, maybe not even for like a season before."
Q: How'd you walk away from the game feeling?
"Sometimes I felt like I didn't do enough, but when I put it all in perspective, I felt like I did a darn good job. I'm grateful for the position I've had and I made the best of my opportunity when granted. I guess that's the athlete in me, the A-personality in me. I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have thought about things differently in my experience of the NFL. I wouldn't change anything because I think that was just my journey. But when I look at it in retrospect and look at my life and where I came from, I think about how I really beat the odds and know my life was in God's hands. I'm ultimately blessed to be in this position and be a Super Bowl champion and a father and a husband to people that love me and care about me."