Dan Williams had the opportunity to do something not too many people can say they’ve done, and that’s play football at the highest level. Playing professional sports is something a lot of people dream of doing.
For Williams, it was his father’s dream to see him play in the NFL. When Williams was playing for the Arizona Cardinals, his father was excited to see him play, but unfortunately, that never happened.
Dan Williams had a successful college career and went on to be a first-round pick
Williams attended the University of Tennessee from 2005 to 2009. During his time there, he went on to have success as a defensive tackle. As a senior, he finished with 70 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. He also led the team with nine tackles for loss. Williams was named to the All-SEC first-team his senior year. He finished his career at Tennessee with 160 total tackles and seven sacks.
Going into the 2010 NFL draft, Williams was ranked the third best defensive tackle behind Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. The Cardinals selected him with the 26th overall pick in the draft. He signed a five-year, $10.335 million contract with the team. As a rookie, Williams saw a lot of action on the field. He played in 15 games finished with 37 tackles. During the 2011 season, he made his first career start against the Carolina Panthers. He led the defensive line with four solo tackles that game, including one tackle for a loss.
During the 2013 season, he intercepted the only pass of his career and returned it for a touchdown. Williams continued to receive consistent playing time during his time in Arizona.
Dan Williams finishing his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders
The former first-round pick out of Tennessee spent his first five seasons with the Cardinals. In 2015, he signed with the Raiders. Williams had a short stint with the Raiders only playing two seasons with the team. During those two seasons, he did play in all 16 games.
He started in 26 games and had 1.5 sacks during his time in Oakland. Williams had a strong 2015 season but fell off a little the next year. His numbers weren’t as productive after the 2016 season, and the Raiders decided to release him. He finished his career with 222 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one interception.
The tragic death of Dan Williams father
While Williams was playing for the Cardinals, he received the worst news he could possibly hear. In 2013, the Cardinals were in Louisiana taking on the New Orleans Saints. Before the game, Williams found out that his father died in a car accident as he was traveling to see his son play. Williams was excused from the game after hearing the devastating news.
According to an ESPN article published in September of 2013, the team spokesman said that Thomas Williams was traveling from the family’s home in Memphis to New Orleans, planning to watch their son play. The accident occurred around Jackson, Miss. The article also said that Dan’s mother and sister were also involved in the accident and were hospitalized.
There was no information on what caused the accident. Dan rejoined the team and finished the 2013 season with the Cardinals. His father was a huge football fan, and to hear what happened was a huge blow for Dan and the entire Cardinals organization.