On the third day of AFWB camp March 1, we are at the ITU campus with Oktay Cavus in order to watch the under 19 years old’s practice. At the end of the first session where were able to interview DeAngelo Williams, one of the greatest running backs of the decade. DeAngelo Williams was also one of the most sincere and friendly players in the AFWB camp. He was always around with a smile on his face, trying to help and teach every player on the camp. He was also kind to answer our entire questions in his tight schedule while his fans were waiting for him to sign autographs. Of course due to our limited time we weren’t able to ask all the questions we wanted but after all this interview was a great opportunity for us. I mean, not many people are lucky to conduct an interview with an NFL star whose action figure stands in their room…

Röportajın Türkçesini okumak için tıklayınız. (For the Turkish language version please click here.)

Kaan Ozaydin: We are glad to have you in Turkey. What are your impressions regarding the level under 19 players? Did you see any future NFL players?

DeAngelo Williams: I didn’t know that the men and the women don’t play together. There is lot of guys here with a lot of potential but the women really impressed me with their footwork and their competitive nature. Because you know, lot of women, when they compete against guys or try to compete against guys, guys be like “we’ll let them win” but it was like they were running for every women around the world today. (Laughs) So it is amazing just seeing them competing against guys. You know, we are guys, we don’t want to lose to a women. (Laughs) So it is fun. We were doing whatever it takes. That’s how you bring the competitive nature in the man and that’s we did today. We really pushed these kids today. They had to fight through bags, they had to fight through Marshawn Lynch, they had to fight through the drills, we threw lots of obstacles in their way and they overcame them.

K.O.: Are you planning to come back again?

Williams: It is all up to AFWB man. We go through 12 to 15 countries through a year and whatever country present the best opportunity for us, that’s the one we take. So if Turkey want us back and they want to do what they are doing for us again, we are willing to step through that door and make these opportunities possible.

K.O.: So you are about getting released from your team…

Williams: Awww… Yeah…

K.O.: You are one the greatest running backs of the decade actually. What you are going to do now? Are you in talks with any other teams?

Williams: Well, I got to hit free agency first because I hadn’t been officially released. That will happen on my return back to the States. Whenever I get back, I’ll have to have an extra physical then they will release me. I mean, that’s why the next chapter of my life starts, I will find another team and pursue my relentless effort to win a champion.

Kaan Özaydın, Oktay Çavuş, DeAngelo Williams

K.O.: Are you considered regarding your age? Because lots of running backs starts to decline during their 30’s…

Williams: I don’t think they decline. I think the opportunity decline for us to be successful in the National Football League. Because the 30 year old age whether you have lots of miles or not, a stigma is attached to us when you play 30 and beyond the coaches look at you as an ancient architect or look at you as a dinosaur and they don’t want to give you the ball as many times they did, thinking that they are doing you a favor but its actually hearts your career.

K.O.: We saw lots of great running backs above 30. One of them was your idol actually, Ricky Williams. I mean, he skipped a couple of seasons.

Williams: You guys did your homework man, I see that…

K.O.: Actually we are huge fans of you. I launched this website, nfltr.com in 2006 and you were just a rookie… (Laughs)

Williams: Awww (Laughs). I am a huge Ricky Williams fan, man. He did a lot in his life. You know, I don’t want to talk about off the field because that’s not we are talking about but as a running back on the field, watching him the college, things that he did, as a three or four dimension running back, running guys over, absolutely like breaking collarbones in college, that was the ‘back I wanted to be. You know I had the opportunity to see him and actually meet him when we played against the Dolphins…

K.O.: Yeah, during the 2009 season, right?

Williams: Yeah, I was actually mic’d up that day. I didn’t know I was mic’d up well, I did but I just forgot and had opportunity to have a conversation with him and let him know you know how much I appreciate.

O.C.: I have one related question, every coaches talking about solid running game. But right now in the NFL, I mean running game is not as much appreciated as it used to be…

Williams: It is not as much as appreciated. I talked about that today on the TV…

O.C.: Do you think that it depends on the college football evolution?

Williams: It has noting to with college football. NFL is a copycat league…

O.C.: I mean, even the average quarterbacks are paid huge amount money…

Williams: It’s the position. They always think the quarterback is the head of the team. I mean dependant on who you are, he is usually the captain, he is usually a vocal leader he is usually the guy who lead you on the field and lead you off the field. That’s why they pay those guys a large amount of money because they figure it’s a huge burden on them sometimes depending on what team your on and it just all the attention that attracted on that position because that position right there single handedly relies on your team. The ball not necessarily the always goes through his hands but they would like it to go through his hands. And ever since the, I don’t know if you have noticed the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl, its been a passing offensive game but before that when teams used to go to Super Bowl with a running game, we were in high demand. You know, Shaun Alexander… Frank Gore made it to the Super Bowl but read option was really high way with (Colin) Kaepernick and Frank Gore. You saw teams going to that but you know, next yea it depends on whatever team winning like the New England Patriots, they won it this year… I think you will teams run even less now because New England won the Super Bowl with not being that effective in the running game.

O.C.: So do you think its going to be like that in future?

Williams: Yeah, in NFL. But in college, when you look around the league, they run the ball all the time, you look at the Ohio State for instance, the running back had almost 3,000 yards rushing and almost 30-40 yard attempts. They run the ball in college. They got to establish their run because it takes a lot pressure of their quarterback but in the NFL, you got to take whatever they give you, like for instance Seattle, they stacked the box against Marshawn (Lynch), they did that all year and it allowed Russell Wilson being effective as he is…

O.C.: Probably for the contract… (Laughs)

Williams: (Laughs) Yeah…

K.O.: What about Cam Newton? When the Carolina Panthers drafted him, you started share your work load with him, also. And you were sharing the ball with Jonathan Stewart as the double trouble…

Williams: It didn’t matter to me at all man, as long as we win, we’ll be effective and make it to the Super Bowl. That’s everybody’s goal, make it to the top of the mountain and conquer. We hadn’t been there in my nine years of playing. We made it to the playoffs in two straight years…

K.O.: But you guys always had some troubles during the big games but you had lots great teams in Carolina…

Williams: Its not winning the big games, you got to understand, every game in the playoffs is a big game, every time that lose a playoff game has a problem winning big games. (Laughs) Because they all lost. There is 32 teams in the National Football League but at the end of the day, after the Super Bowl, there is only one team.

K.O.: Do you have any hard feelings against the team (Carolina Panthers)?

Williams: I have no hard feelings at all man…

O.C.: One last question, what do you think about the future of the American football in the Olympic games?

Williams: Oh, American football? That’s a lot of man. I don’t know, it all the depends on what the Olympic staff think the necessary things to keep the Olympic games going. The tracking field, I think its awesome, the boxing, with the wrestling being on the hook and off the hook and then back on, then off, then back on… And it is a thing people fighting for and think it is going to be one of these things, we got to come together, and say hey, NFL players and the college players or who ever playing on these Olympic games, that’s a big toll on our bodies because we play four preseason games, 16 regular season games, 17 during the season because of the bye week and then if you want to make it to the Super Bowl potential three or four on top it. So you can play 24 games in a season and then get two months off and get right back into it. That’s lot of football…

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