There was a point this offseason where many fans believed Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams would be catching passes for some other NFL team this year. Well, shame on all of you for thinking that. The loyal veteran turned down bigger offers to stay with the team he loves and we thank him immensely for that.
I recently had the great privilege to speak with Williams about his youth football camp, his swag walk, and which of his Cowboys teammates is most likely to eat live bugs. You know, the standard questions.
Here is my interview with T Dub:
Danny Phantom: So, you are partnering with Hyundai Motor America, which is an official sponsor of the NFL, and they are putting together the Hyundai Youth Football Camp. This will allow fans across the country to participate with their favorite NFL teams and players in a series of fundamental football drills. You are representing the Cowboys in this event so can you tell us your role in all this? What kind of things are you involved in?
Terrance Williams: Hyundai did a great job of bringing a great group of kids around from all different age groups. It’s a chance to do the fundamentals while having a great time and get kids moving around because you know how it is when sometimes in Texas kids are afraid of the heat and the really don’t move around. Hyundai did a great job promoting it and bringing in a lot of different groups of kids to come out here and learn the fundamentals while having a great time doing it.
Phantom: Will you be teaching anyone the Swag Walk?
T Dub: [laughing] Ha, ha, ha....that wasn’t part of the drill today, but I did explain how to do the toe-tap to keep both feet in.
Phantom: That’s something you got mastered for sure.
As you know, the NFL has lightened up on their celebration rules, which is great news for us fans. Dez Bryant has the “Throw Up the X”, Cole Beasley has “Da Sauce” and you of course have the “Swag Walk.” What is going on with Brice Butler? He just does this thing with crossing his fingers as if he’s fending off vampires. Can you get with him and help him come up with a better celebration move?
T Dub: [laughing loud] Ha, ha, ha, ha! I don’t know what Brice calls that. I think it's for a roman numeral or something like that. There’s some crazy thing he had behind it. That’s just Brice. He’s just a smooth, casual guy that doesn’t do much. I think the most we got out of him was from the Green Bay game when he got up and started talking after he scored. That’s the most I’ve seen from him since I’ve been here.
Phantom: Well, that was a big catch in that game.
It’s great to be able to talk with you today, but it’s even greater to be able to watch you in a Cowboys uniform for the next several years. It’s not that hard to tell that you guys are a close receiving group and you can just see the brotherhood in how you guys act together. And we’ve heard that was an important factor in your decision to re-sign with Dallas. What is it about this group that makes you love to be a part of this organization?
T Dub: Because you have a group of guys that are real and it doesn’t just start when the cameras are out and people are watching. We don’t just pretend that we are all cool, but then don’t hang around each other behind closed doors. That is not the situation with this group.
This group, since I’ve been here, I’ve been blessed to be around guys like Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and guys like that to just show me how you are supposed to be a professional playing for the Cowboys. It’s just one of those things that whenever you have a close group of guys like we have now, that’s something that money doesn’t drive me to a different spot like that. Because my mom raised me to not take people or things for granted that you can’t pay for.
I just thank the relationship I have with the coaches and Mr. Jones and for taking a chance on me out of the draft and just the guys who've been around me. I just want to return the favor and I’ll take less just to be here, proving that money doesn’t make my character. That’s the reason why I chose to be with this team.
I didn’t want to go somewhere different and deal with a whole lot of stuff that you don’t want to deal with through the league, and I just felt like if you’re around a group of guys that you trust and a coaching staff that you trust - what better way to show it than to not just take more money to play somewhere where I’m not supposed to be.
Phantom: Well, we are certainly glad you stuck around. It’s going to be great to see this core group back together again.
Speaking of coaches - as you know, your coach, Jason Garrett, is the reigning Coach of the Year. It’s become more and more evident that this so-called “process” of his is the real deal. What do you think is Coach Garrett’s biggest strength as it pertains to getting the Cowboys back to being a winning football team?
T Dub: For me, I learn things from visualization. I just think that Coach Garrett does a great job of putting a picture in your mind of what he’s talking about. Certain things you can get a grasp and feel what he’s talking about. I think his biggest strength is just knowing the right things to say at the right time. Because normally when you’re around a lot of coaches, they just go around and just talk and just talk and just talk and you can go to their meetings and know for a fact that this is about to be something that is boring.
But whenever you have a coach that makes you want to play and makes you want to visualize what he’s talking about, that’s something a lot of guys love. And I’m just one of those guys that when you talk about it and give me a visual of what you want to see, then we can put it to work.
Phantom: Yeah, it definitely seems like he’s getting through to people and his players hold him in high regard.
You have had some amazing toe-tapping plays in your career and you’re one of the better receivers in the league when it comes to your footwork along the sidelines, however some of my favorite plays from watching you on film have been when you don’t even touch the ball. I’ll be watching Ezekiel Elliott fly down the field and if you look at the defender that you’re engaged with, that guy has no chance to chase him down. What can you tell us fans about what you’ve done specifically to become a good blocker?
T Dub: To me, it just starts off with the relationship you have with your guys. When I first met Zeke, he seemed like a cool guy and you being cool around me goes a long way. It helps me process myself during the moments of battle when I have a guy, my bro, that I can call my friend who I can trust and has my back. Once I get that vibe from you, I’m the type that doesn’t just talk about it and show that I can be someone you can depend on.
Blocking just comes from your will. Sometimes, whenever you play here, most people get caught up with Dez and Jason Witten and Beas. That’s cool and all, but I just have to keep finding ways to do the small things that most people take for granted. And that’s the stuff I can live with if I know I’m doing the fundamental things right to get us to victory. That’s why my blocking becomes so much more important to me.
Phantom: Well, it definitely shows on the field. That’s something you’ve been able to dial in and do really well for the team.
Going back to some of the big time catches you’ve had during your four-year career in Dallas. Not only have they been jaw-dropping plays, but they’ve come at some pretty big moments, including the 2014 playoffs. Which would you say was your favorite catch?
T Dub: I think probably, the one from Green Bay. With the Cowboys/Packers rivalry, this was really my first chance of getting involved with that. That touchdown, when Tony changed the play, that was a huge, huge swing in the way that we fought. Me and Tony just going off script like that, just coming up with a play to get points. I think that was just genius.
Phantom: Yeah, I remember that play well. That was a definite momentum-shifter.
You got about a month off before training camp starts. How are you going to be spending most of your time? Tell us one thing that Terrance Williams likes to do.
T Dub: I try to get my core strength up. It helps me with some of the tough catches I make and the blocking I have to do so I have to get my core strength up and get my legs a little bit stronger. Just really my core strength, because it helps me out when I’m being pushed or faced with contact catches. And I’m taking rowing classes this term so I think that would help out.
Phantom: Okay, so here’s the last thing I got for you, Terrance. I heard that Coach Garrett has put together these little competition games for you guys during the breaks at mini camp. You guys have to pick teams and compete against each other testing a variety of skills. So it helps to know your teammates well and what they’re capable of. You’re a veteran and you know most of these guys well, so I’m going to list a few activities and you tell me who you think would be the best at it.
So are you ready for this?
T Dub: Gotcha.
Phantom: So if the challenge is eating live bugs, which teammate would you want on your team for that?
T Dub: Hmm......probably Cole Beasley.
T Dub: Yeah, he just don’t care.
Phantom: Which one of your teammates would be most willing to wear a romper in public?
T Dub: (without hesitation) Lucky Whitehead.
[He answered that quickly. It’s almost as if he’s seen Lucky wear this before]
Phantom: And I know you are probably asked this all the time, but which one of your teammates do you think would be the best at driving a car with their feet?
Williams: Hmm...I don’t know. I would say probably Sean Lee.
[My guess would have been kicker, Dan Bailey or punter, Chris Jones since they are very coordinated with their feet, but Lee seems like a player that would be good at it. It struck me odd that Williams answered these questions so seriously, which makes me wonder what Garrett, in fact, puts these guys up to]
Phantom: Okay Terrance, it’s been great talking to you. Here’s to a great 2017 season and an illustrious career in Dallas.
Williams: Okay, thank you boss.
I had a really great time talking with Terrance. You see him on TV and you know he’s this famous, wealthy player that has a little swagger to him, but he couldn’t have been more down to earth. I got a real sense that this guy doesn’t take anything for granted and counts his blessings ever day. What a humble person and a genuine pleasure to talk with.
I know a couple of my questions were a little offbeat, but he had a good sense of humor about it and played along nicely. He also had some great answers that shed some light on a few things. His “blocking comes from your will” statement was interesting. I was expecting his answer to center around some type of fundamental tactic, but the strength of the bond he has with his teammates really emphasizes the idea that someone would give everything they've got for their brothers. It makes more sense why Garrett constantly preaches things like “compete” and “fight” and “commit” when he is trying to sustain a certain type of mentality. His answer about his head coach was interesting as well. We hear a lot of things about how smart Garrett is and how he is a player’s coach that really makes the effort to draw out the most from his guys. He’s not just a guy barking orders, but rather finessing his instructions to the listener so the they can achieve results.
It’s great to have a guy like Williams out there working with those young kids. There are are still several camps going on in July. For a full list of dates click here.
July 6, 2017: Arizona Cardinals
Location: Arizona Sports Complex, Glendale, AZ
Player: David Johnson, Running Back
July 8, 2017: Los Angeles Rams
Location: Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA
Player: Todd Gurley, Running Back
July 15, 2017: Minnesota Vikings
Location: Winter Park Training Facility, Eden Prairie, MN
Player: Anthony Barr, Linebacker
July 22, 2017: New York
Location: Superdome Sports Complex, Waldwick, NJ
Player: Sterling Shepard, Wide Receiver
July 29, 2017: Pittsburgh Steelers
Location: Cool Springs Sports Complex, Pittsburgh, PA
Player: Hines Ward, Former Wide Receiver