LANDOVER MD - NOVEMBER 28: Safety Madieu Williams #20 of the Minnesota Vikings breaks up a pass intended for Anthony Armstrong #13 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField November 28 2010 in Landover Maryland. The Vikings won the game 17-13. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
We continue our series of posts on 49ers free agent acquisitions with a look at safety Madieu Williams, courtesy of Christopher Gates at Daily Norseman. Thus far we've looked at Antwan Applewhite, Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner.
Williams was the first new safety added to the 49ers roster but will likely end up playing in some sort of reserve role with Reggie Smith and Donte Whitner likely getting the starting nods. As Chris points out after the jump, Williams struggled mightily in 2010. It will be interesting to see over the four preseason games how much time Williams gets versus C.J. Spillman, Curtis Taylor and Taylor Mays, among others.
Is it possible Williams doesn't even make the roster if there's any sort of crunch? Head after the jump to read Christopher Gates' take on Madieu Williams.
The case of Madieu Williams is really sort of a sad one, as he's the kind of guy that you really want to root for. He signed with the Vikings prior to the 2008 season for six years, but wound up missing the first seven games of the 2008 season because of a neck injury that he suffered during training camp. In his first game back, he did collect an interception against the Houston Texans to help the Vikings to a victory. Unfortunately, after a decent 2009, the 2010 season was a bad one for Williams, as he was constantly beaten and out of position a lot. His tackling skills never really seemed to come around, either, and you have to wonder how much of a role that neck injury he suffered played in that.
Off the field, however, there is nobody in the NFL that can match Madieu Williams. He was the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year for the 2010 season, but was unable to accept the award in person on Super Bowl weekend because he was in Iraq, honoring a previous commitment to visit America's men and women in uniform. In 2009, he donated $2 million to his alma mater, the University of Maryland, to found the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health Initiatives, and he travels back to his native Sierra Leone every off-season.
I think there's a chance that Williams can still be a productive safety in the National Football League, but whether he does or not, he's the kind of guy that you can't help but cheer for.