On Sunday, October 23, Chargers legend Jamal Williams will become the 40th member of the Chargers Hall of Fame.
During his 12 seasons with the Bolts, the former nose tackle made an indelible impact on the organization and the NFL, becoming one of the most feared interior defensive linemen of his era and earning multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in the process.
Ahead of his enshrinement, I had a chance to sit down with 'Big Mal' to talk about his career and what this honor means to him.
Congratulations, what does being inducted in the Chargers Hall of Fame mean to you?
Williams: This honor means a lot to me because it took a lot of hard work with my teammates over the years. Numerous years of different players putting work in to accomplish the goals and that's what we strived for. It paid off, and this goal right here is to be amongst the legends of the game and our Chargers society and our gridiron warriors. I'm just overjoyed to spend this time in this moment in this place in history for the Chargers.
You were a second-round pick in the 1998 Supplemental Draft. Looking back, what was your mindset like knowing you had to carve out a different path to the NFL?
Williams: It's kind of weird because I had to make an adjustment, but my mindset was, I didn't care if I got drafted as long as I got into the league. I had to go put my foot down and from day one, it was extra motivation to say, 'Hey, you have to go out there and show what you've got.' I had a lot of people behind me throughout the years encouraging me to pursue that goal.
Who were some of those people, Chargers players or coaches, who took you under their wing and had an impact on your playing days?
Williams: There are numerous guys I can name, but I'll start off with my rookie year walking on to the field with Junior Seau, Rodney Harrison, Norman Hand, John Parrella – these guys were setting the standard out there.
I walked onto the field and was like wow, this is the pace, this is how we're supposed to practice, this is how we're supposed to prepare and when it's game time, you could always count on these guys. You'd look to your left and your right and know that these guys were all synced and ready to dominate on the field.