(Born October 24, 1972) -- Pat Williams’ career is proof that you don’t necessarily to be a big name coming out of college to be successful.
Williams bounced around quite a bit after graduating from high school in Louisiana. He played at Navarro College, where he was a junior college All-American, and eventually played at Texas A&M.
That didn’t impress the pro scouts too much, and the Bills signed him as an undrafted free agent. Williams only played in one game in his rookie year, but slowly but surely earned more playing time on the defensive line.
In 2001, he was ready for full-time duty. Williams stayed in the lineup through 2004, and even ran an interception in for a touchdown in 2004. Buffalo didn’t re-sign him, and he became a free agent.
Minnesota landed the big tackle. Williams made three straight Pro Bowls there, but he was suspended for using a banned substance late in 2008. Williams fought the suspension in court, but lost the case in 2011. His last game in the NFL was in 2010.
--- Budd Bailey