Regarded by many as one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL today, three-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jamal Williams leads the Chargers’ defensive front and run defense.
Year-in and year-out, the Chargers’ defensive line has been one of the NFL’s best. 2008 was no exception as the Chargers ranked 11th in the NFL in run defense, missing out on cracking the top 10 by just 1.3 yards per game. In seven of Williams’ 12 seasons in San Diego, the Chargers have ranked in the league’s Top 10 in rushing defense, including league-leading seasons in 1998 and 2005. Only twice during his Chargers’ tenure has the unit ranked below 11th in the league’s final rankings.
Williams has been a warrior throughout his career. In 2008, he played in all 16 games and made 15 starts. Since 2003, he’s only missed four games due to injury, despite playing one of the most dangerous and physically demanding positions on the field. To understand his toughness, one only needs to look back at the 2007 season when he had arthroscopic procedures done on both of his knees during the team’s bye week and missed just one game following the operations before returning to the field. Williams also battled through a high ankle sprain during the ’07playoffs that would have kept most players out of action. Instead, he was right in the mix helping the Chargers advance to the AFC Championship Game.
Despite being one of the most experienced veterans on the team, Williams takes nothing for granted. Every year in training camp, the mammoth defensive tackle refuses to post a nameplate on his locker stall at Chargers Park. In an old ritual, Williams refuses to have his name on his locker until he’s officially made the team, forcing the team’s equipment staff to re-order a new nameplate for big No. 76 at the start of each regular season.
Williams is widely regarded as one of the toughest and most physically-imposing defensive tackles in the NFL. It’s natural, considering he comes from a family in which he was the second oldest of seven boys all raised by his mother, Harriet, a single parent. She is now retired, but spent years working as a correctional officer at a juvenile facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Jamal is the only player on the roster who carries a dumbbell with him to every team meeting so he can knock out a few curls while watching tape and studying his playbook.
Williams nearly had a familiar face in the locker room a few years ago as younger brother, Kwesi, who played cornerback at Morehead State, had a free agent tryout with the Chargers in 2006.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Second-round choice in Supplemental Draft, July 9, 1998…signed with Chargers, Aug. 6, 1998…re-signed, April 11, 2000 and May 11, 2001…signed five-year contract extension thru 2010, May 26, 2005.
2009: Put on IR week 2 of the season. Was recognized in week 12 by being selected as one of the 50th greatest Chargers in franchise history.
2008: Chargers co-MVP, Defensive POY and Lineman of Year…Chargers Alumni Defensive POM for October…season-high three TFLs Nov. 9 vs. KC as Chargers held Chiefs to just 76 yards on ground…dominated line in Nov. 23 NBC SNF game vs. Indianapolis, matching season-high with seven TTs, including tackle for no gain, one for loss and five-yard sack, while holding Colts to 91 yards rushing...huge season-saving play to stop Larry Johnson for NG on 3rd-and-one with 6:12 left in 4Q Dec. 14 at KC…Chiefs opted to punt and did not see ball again until 36 seconds remained after Chargers scored twice to erase 21-10 deficit and take 22-21 lead in game with playoff implications.
2007: Pro Bowl…Game Ball from Head Coach Norv Turner after limiting Denver to 72 rushing yards Oct. 7…in two 2006 games versus Chargers, Broncos had rushed for 320 yards vs. SD’s defense… INA Oct. 28 vs. Houston (knee)…returned and had season-high nine TTs, including TFL, in Nov. 11 NBC SNF game vs. Indy…INA Wks 15-16 (hip)…DNP in Pro Bowl (ankle).
2006: Pro Bowl…first-team All-Pro by AP, Sporting News, USA Today Sports Weekly, PFW & PFWA…also All-AFC from PFW and PFWA…Chargers co-Lineman of Year...Chargers Alumni POW after leading DL with seven stops at Baltimore Oct. 1…AFC Defensive POW and USA Today’s Unsung Hero of Week after dominating performance in 23-13 NBC SNF victory over defending SB Champions Oct. 8…finished with sack and team-leading eight tackles, including TFL while holding Steelers to 68 yards on ground…season-high 12 TTs vs. Cleveland Nov. 5 and helped hold Browns to 89 yards rushing…helped hold KC to 90 yards and 0 TDs on Dec. 17 at Qualcomm stadium after Chiefs had rushed for 134 yards and two scores in first game at Arrowhead Stadium…led DL and tied for team high with 11 TTs at Seattle Dec. 24…started and collected sack vs. Tony Romo and TFL in Pro Bowl.
2005: Pro Bowl…AP, Sporting News and ESPN.com All-Pro…All-AFC by PFW and PFWA… Chargers Defensive POY and Lineman of Year… helped hold Philadelphia to season-low 24 yards rushing Oct. 23, just one week after holding Oakland to 39 yards rushing…batted down key third-down pass during late 4Q goal-line stand in 31-26 win over NY Jets Nov. 6…Chargers Alumni POW after Miami game Dec. 11.
2004: Pro Bowl first-alternate… SI.com All-Pro…second-team All-Pro by AP and Football Digest…USA Today All-Joe...Chargers Defensive POY and Lineman of Year…Chargers Alumni POW after sack Sept. 26 at Denver…career-high two sacks vs. Jacksonville Oct. 10…DNP vs. KC Jan. 2.
2003: Top game with sack and FF vs. Oakland Dec. 28…INA Wk 13 (knee).
2002: Ed Block Courage Award…placed on “Reserve-Injured” Dec. 4 after suffering dislocated ankle in game vs. Denver Dec. 1 when he was hit from behind…had sack vs. Broncos before suffering injury.
2001: Started first three games at DT before being placed on “Reserve-Injured” Oct. 3 (left knee).
2000: Season-high six tackles in vs. NO Sept. 10, Denver Oct. 8, at Seattle Nov. 5 and vs. KC Nov. 26…lone sack of season at Denver Nov. 19. 1999: Collected lone sack in season finale at Denver. 1998: Scored first NFL TD on 14-yard INT return at Seattle Dec. 13.
COLLEGE: First team All-Big 12…finished career with 117 tackles and 9.5 sacks… attended Kemper Military Academy in Missouri in 1996…played at Oklahoma State in 1995 and 1997…majored in sociology.
PERSONAL: Born in Washington, D.C…SuperPrep All-America at Arch Bishop Carroll High School in Washington D.C….daughters Joy Danielle and Jasmine.
By the time most San Diegans were finishing their work day Wednesday, Chargers Director of College Scouting John Spanos was just getting to the second portion of his.
Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison give their fantasy projections for the final Thursday night matchup of the season as the San Diego Chargers take on the Denver Broncos.