Imagine making history without even stepping onto the field. That was the case for Seattle Seahawks Defensive Tackle, and Australia’s own Jesse Williams.
On February 2nd 2014, the Seattle Seahawks in front of 82,529 fans and millions watching around the world handed the Denver Broncos a humiliating 43 to 8 loss, becoming the third biggest margin in the games Super Bowl history.
Established in 1974, the Seattle Seahawks had just won their first Super Bowl in franchise history and as the confetti fell and the players celebrated, one man had just created history.
That man is Jesse Williams.
Born in Far North Queensland’s Thursday Island, Jesse Williams became the first, and still to this day the only Australian to ever win a Super Bowl ring. He was also the first Indigenous Australian to feature in the NFL.
Before Super Bowl XLVII however Williams was making headlines coming out of Junior College.
He quickly became one of the highest rated recruits heading into the 2011 class. After receiving multiple scholarship offers to play from various different schools, Williams enrolled into the University of Alabama. where he would play football at the collegiate level for the esteemed Crimson Tide.
In 2011 he started all 13 games at the Defensive End position where he would garner 24 total tackles, and half a QB sack. He would increase those numbers in 2012 totalling 37 tackles and one sack. Williams would end his college career with an exceptional resume.
He was a two time BCS National Champion, an SEC Champion, and a member of the 2012 Associated Press All-SEC Second Team.
With his college career behind him it was time to look to the future, and a career in the NFL. In 2013 the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round with Pick 137.
Sadly his career with the Seahawks started with a knee injury that would see him placed on the injured reserve list for the entirety of what should have been his rookie season. In a heartbreaking turn of events for Williams this unfortunate knee injury occurred in the same year where Seattle would put it all together finishing the year with a 13-3 record, the number one seed in the NFC and their first ever Super Bowl win.
It didn’t get any better for Jesse, being placed on the injured reserve list again for the 2014 season as a result of another knee injury. After surgeries kept him from the field in his first two years, the 2015/16 season looked to be the season where Jesse Williams would introduce himself to the NFL world.
Tragically that wasn’t the case; at the age of 24 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. His NFL career would end before ever getting started after the surgical removal of his kidney in 2015.
Jesse Williams’ story about courage, strength, and the will to continue in the face of adversity. When discussing the career of Williams there is no better statement to describe this man’s fight and determination than the one inked on his head for life – ‘fear is a liar’.
Fear can overcome anyone and everyone if it is let in. However a man born on an island with a population of 3,000 people conquered one of the toughest and most physically demanding sports in the world at the most prestigious program in football.
A starter on two national championship teams, a member of an All-Sec team, and a Super Bowl champion. Jesse Williams name will live forever in the annals of history, not only at the University of Alabama, or in the NFL but in the history book of Australia sporting stars as the first ever Australian Super Bowl champion.
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