Saturday morning I had the pleasure of sitting down for about 20 minutes with arguably the best player in Arizona Cardinals history, Aeneas Williams.
My plan was to sit down and ask Aeneas just a few questions as I was provided a timeslot in which to sit down with him and catch up with how things are going. I was able to get my few questions in, but what surprised me was how down to earth Aeneas was. The conversation started with him asking me about what a blog was. To be honest, I was surprised, but honored that he was interested in what I did and what blogs were all about. I shouldn’t have been surprised though since that is the type of person Aeneas is. He cares for others first.
Currently living in St. Louis as a pastor of his own church, The Spirit of the Lord Family Church, one that he started in October 2007, he was in town to promote the grand opening of the Alltel store at Desert Ridge. As part of the grand opening, Alltel provided tickets to Sunday’s Cardinals-Cowboys game to the first ten people through the door at 11am. One fan was given the VIP treatment. David Smith of Tucson was chosen at random by Aeneas himself to get the VIP treatment to the game against the Cowboys. David will be traveling to the game by limo and 10 friends will be able to join him the Alltel suite to watch the game.
“Alltel is excited to bring this unique fan experience to Smith and his Circle,” said Samira Zebian, director sponsorship marketing for Alltel Wireless. “In addition to getting tickets to the game, Smith and his ten friends will celebrate with former Cardinals great Aeneas Williams during the pre-game festivities.”
I did have the opportunity to ask Aeneas how retirement has been treating him. Aeneas said he is “enjoying life” since he finished with the Rams a few years back. I also had the opportunity to ask him about his upcoming induction into the Cardinals Ring of Honor on Monday November 10th against the San Francisco 49ers. He said that he “understands the importance” of the event and that it is a “tremeandous honor.” He was truly appreciative of his time here and of the Bidwill family.
I also wanted to get Aeneas’s thoughts on the differences he saw in St. Louis after leaving the Cardinals in 2000. He said that coach (Dick) Vermeil had done a good job of putting together a good team. “A foundation had been laid”, he said, referring to his arrival one year before the Rams Super Bowl Championship that took place in 2001. He said the atmosphere in St. Louis was “condusive to winning.” He said that didn’t exist here in Arizona at the time. However, he sees parallels between what Vermeil did in St. Louis and what current coach Ken Whisenhunt is doing here in Arizona. That certainly was music to my ears.
During our conversation, Aeneas had to take time out for another interview with Sirius NFL Radio with Vic Carucci and Dan Leberfeld. During that interview, they were able to ask him about Adam Jones from the Cowboys and his current issues and also about the hit Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson put on Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards last Sunday and the subsequent fine Wilson was hit with on Friday. As you recall, I was down on the call and really wondered if there was anything the defensive player could have done differently. How does one coach any differently. Aeneas didn’t skip a beat and had a great response to that. “There has to be some kind of mechanism to enforce (the hit),” he said. He pointed out that the player making the hit has as much of a chance to be injured as the person he hit. He also said that even though the defensive player is coached that way, if the NFL is going to enforce calls in that manner, then it is the responsibility of the players and coaches to adjust to those rules. Well said.
Aeneas Williams is a class act with a good head on his shoulders. I also want to thank Pete Stuart and Karli Rizzo from the Taylor Agency for providing me the opportunity to sit down with Aeneas. It was probably the best 20-30 minutes I’ve had to date representing Raising Zona.