Anquan Boldin received the Walter Payton Man of the Year award at the 2016 NFL Honors but it's important to acknowledge that other members of the San Francisco 49ers are also doing great work with the community. NT Ian Williams and DT Quinton Dial have grown the bond between each other both on and off the field. I had a chance to speak with Dial at the end of the season. He finished up his third season with the 49ers, and spoke about working with Williams, who just wrapped up his fifth season.
That bond between us is always going to be there. We know how to play off each other and it's crazy because we can look at each other and know we are thinking the same thing. That's going to continue to grow.
Williams, who just finished up the last year of his contract extension, had similar comments regarding Dial:
It's crazy how able me and Q can work together. It's our first time, you know, being in there together and how fast we built a good bond just being out there on the field. That's something I hope we can continue.
Dial and Williams think similarly off the field as well. Both were regulars at the Monday events that 49ers Community organizes every week, even after the team traveled to play on the Sunday prior. They both grew up where there were challenges keeping the lights and not knowing where their next meal might come from. Both realize what an impact they can have on less fortunate families, and the best part about it: The smiles on the kids' faces.
Waking up on Christmas morning as a child without having had a visit from Santa is a memory Dial will never forget. He works with 49ers Community and his own foundation to help prevent kids from having this same memory. Both Dial and Williams participated in "Shop with a Jock" prior to Christmas, taking kids on a shopping spree for the children and their families. More recently Dial organized "Project Warmth" which gathered coats and blankets for the Bay Area homeless as well as working with SFWish and Make a Wish families throughout Super Bowl week festivities in San Francisco.
It will be some time before Williams will find out if he will remain with the 49ers in 2016. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus is expected to meet with 49ers brass in Indianapolis this week. When I asked Williams where he would like to be once training camp begins, he expressed that he definitely hopes both sides can work out a deal because "this is home."