Williams talked with Doug Gottlieb about his reaction to the Ravens’ loss to the New England Patriots in the 2011 AFC Championship Game before deciding to retire.
“After the game, we came back the next day and we were sitting there as a team having that last meeting and there was just so much energy in the room and people were excited to get back on the field and I joined in,” Williams said. “So leaving that meeting I was planning on how I was going to work out in the offseason.”
But despite feeling the energy of a hungry Ravens team looking to build off their devastating loss, the day after the Ravens team meeting a text conversation with Bill Parcells made Williams change his mind on returning for another season.
“A day later I get a text from Coach Parcells asking how I was and so I was excited to share with him how excited I was for the upcoming season and his reply was, ‘You can contribute in other ways,’” Williams said. “It kind of shook me a little bit because I didn’t expect to hear that from the Tuna. It kind of took me back and got me thinking about things a little bit differently and I think it was two weeks later I decided to retire.”
The Ravens did avenge their AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots in 2012 and went on to win the Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers and Williams wasn’t part of the team to finally achieve his elusive championship. But he admits that playing the game was never about winning a championship, but rather about having fun.
“I never had necessarily a desire to win a championship,” Williams said. “I think I’m still stuck in sixth grade football whereas you just go out there and run around and chase people and run around with the ball and it wasn’t about championships.”
And even as he watched his former teammates celebrate their Super Bowl win that he was originally going to be a part of, he never felt that he made the wrong decision.
“I was a bit surprised that I didn’t feel any remorse or any regret.”
As a former Heisman Trophy winner, Williams is a good person to ask about what Johnny Manziel has been doing off the field during a tumultuous offseason. But Williams reminds everyone that his background growing is much different than Manziel’s when it comes to giving an opinion on the Texas A&M running back.
“It’s different when you start with so much in life,” Williams said. “I think with him, his main motivation is to have his own stuff and not have so much of his family’s stuff and also to have fun. I think it’s difficult to stand on the outside and chime in or give opinions on how people are handling things, but from my own personal experiences I think he’s doing exactly what he wants to do.”
And what Manziel is doing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to Williams.
“If you look at his quality of life right now you should really be envious of it,” Williams said. “Because he’s got it going on.”