Ravens' guard Williams reflects on career that began with Eagles

Posted: February 01, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - If you go strictly by career starts, Bobbie Williams has the distinction of being the most successful offensive lineman the Eagles drafted during Andy Reid's 14 seasons as head coach.

Williams, a 36-year-old backup guard for the AFC champion Ravens, who face the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, has made 136 NFL starts since the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2000 draft. That's 36 more than Todd Herremans, 41 more than John Welbourn and 79 more than Shawn Andrews.

Only 12 of those 136 starts ended up being in an Eagles uniform, though. When he became a free agent after the 2003 season, the Eagles told him not to let the door hit him in the butt on the way out. He signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent the next eight seasons and started 118 games.

Last April, he signed with the Ravens and opened training camp as the starting left guard.

But a slow-healing ankle injury set him back. He started six games, but late in the season, the Ravens reshuffled their line, moving rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele to left guard, left tackle Michael Oher to right tackle and inserting Bryant McKinnie at left tackle.

"It's taken me 13 years to get here," Williams said of his first Super Bowl appearance. "The journey has been a good one. I wouldn't trade it for anything. A lot of guys play this game and never get this chance. I'm just thankful to get this opportunity."

Eleven of Williams' 12 starts as an Eagle came in '03 after Jermane Mayberry got hurt. The Eagles made it to the NFC Championship Game for the third straight year that season, but lost to the Carolina Panthers, 14-3.

"I was there 4 years," Williams said. "Most of the time I was backing up, spelling somebody a game here, a game there. When you're a second-round pick, you have high expectations of yourself, and the organization has high expectations of you.

"I never blamed them for not wanting to re-sign me. I guess they had chemistry there on the offensive line that they didn't want to tamper with.

"But it was a blessing. Here I am 13 years later still in the league. Those years laying in wait might've helped provide me with the longevity I've been blessed to have."

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