Cardinals safety Shawn Williams finds familiar faces in Arizona Cardinals locker room
Shawn Williams has figured out a career path that has worked out for him so far. He simply follows wide receiver A.J. Green.
The veteran safety agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, after spending the previous eight years with the Bengals. Like Green, he played at the University of Georgia before that.
"That's a funny one, because I actually talked to Coach Lewis, Marvin Lewis, a couple of nights ago," Williams said. "And he was just joking, I guess, because he was like, 'What's going on?'
" 'You followed A.J. to University of Georgia. And then he leaves and goes, gets drafted in Cincinnati, and you follow him there. And then, he signs with Arizona, you follow him there. So it seems like you're just following A.J. around?' I'm like 'Uh, I guess that's the case?' "
Williams is excited to reunite with Green in Arizona, a new chapter for each of them.
"Everything just seems so refreshing," he said in his introductory press conference on Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to the new opportunity of Arizona and getting to meet everyone."
But there are certainly familiar faces in Arizona, and not just Green. The reunion with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was a big draw for WIlliams. Joseph was the defensive backs coach in Cincinnati in 2014 and 2015. He built a strong relationship with Williams there, with Williams leaning on him for decisions in the past.
"He has his way of just knowing kind of what to say to me, and we just have a good relationship," Williams said.
Joseph has drawn on prior relationships to bring a number of players to the Cardinals since he landed in Arizona in 2019.
In talking with Joseph, Williams has heard a bit about how the team anticipates using him, though that's still flexible. A special teams standout, Williams had a team-leading and career-high five interceptions in 2018.
"Probably be doing a little bit of everything," Williams said. "I pride myself on doing a little bit on special teams. As far as defense, just hearing Coach Joseph can use me. I'm not limited in any area. So I feel like whatever there is that he needs me to do, I'm pretty confident that I can get whatever it is done."
As far as building new relationships, Williams looks forward to getting to know fellow safety Budda Baker.
"I've been watching Budda for awhile now," Williams said. "I have a lot of respect for the way he plays the game. And just everything that I've heard about him — I've heard so much good stuff about him from former teammates, from guys that played with him in college, guys that play with him here — and everything that I hear about him, it's just awesome."
WIlliams feels that the team is already close, and the the mixing in of veterans, a prevailing theme this free agency, will only strengthen that, given the leadership they bring in.
"I think that we have a good mixture, good chemistry, of guys that could hopefully get this team over the hump," he said. "This is definitely a team that's trending in the right direction. And I feel like I'm just excited to be a part of it and hope that we can continue trending in the right direction."
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or 480-356-6407. Follow her on Twitter @kfitz134.
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