Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Addition in a Tough Corner; New Jaguars DB Plans to Prove He's Worth the Money

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Addition in a Tough Corner; New Jaguars DB Plans to Prove He's Worth the Money

Article excerpt

Byline: BART HUBBUCH

Brian Williams is ready for the scrutiny.

A relative unknown until the Jaguars gave him a $10-million signing bonus on the first day of free agency March 11, the former Minnesota Vikings cornerback knows what is coming next.

"I'm the new kid on the block, so the fans want to see what I can do," Williams said Monday after joining his new teammates for the first day of the Jaguars' offseason conditioning program. "I'm going to show them."

That confidence, coupled with Williams' man-to-man coverage skills and hitting ability, convinced the Jaguars to defy conventional wisdom by giving a six-year, $32-million contract to a player who spent half of last season as a backup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Those were the same Minnesota Vikings who finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs, causing coach Mike Tice to lose his job. But even though Tice approved of Williams' benching at the time, he ended up playing a major role in Williams coming to Jacksonville.

Hired by the Jaguars this winter as assistant head coach-offense, Tice gave Jacksonville's coaching staff and scouts a strong endorsement of the 5-foot-11, 198-pound Williams that clinched their decision to pursue him.

"He's my guy," Tice said Monday after greeting Williams with a bear hug in the hallways of Alltel Stadium. "You'll see what he can do."

Many around the league, however, are skeptical. Several national media outlets rated Williams' signing as the most questionable in free agency, saying the Jaguars overpayed for a player that wasn't even a full-time starter in 2005.

Williams insists the skepticism is misguided, considering he has 12 interceptions in four seasons.

"I might not have the name recognition of a Champ Bailey, but if you watch me, then you know I can play," said Williams, a fourth-round pick from North Carolina State in 2002. "My numbers match up just as well as any of those guys. As long as the right guys recognize me, that's all that matters."

Williams flew under the radar in free agency this offseason because Minnesota wasn't convinced he merited a starting job, much less an eight-figure bonus. …

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