Being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a prestigious honor that recognizes the very best in the National Football League and the profound legacy that the best have left in the organization. Its esteemed recognition is not for every single player and only a few get elected in the same league as legends such as Troy Aikman and John Elway. Now, former player turned pastor Aeanus Williams joins the elite group of players recognized for their "outstanding contributions to professional football."
Williams is the pastor of Spirit Church in St. Louis, where he used to play for the city's team the St. Louis Rams in the last years of his 14-year career from 2001-2004. Prior to the Rams, he played with the Arizona Cardinals from 1991-2000 before being traded. Notably, Williams is known for inadvertently ending the career of San Francisco 49er (and Hall of Famer) Steve Young after a devastating tackle.
Though Williams never won a Super Bowl Championship, he is considered as one of the NFL's "all-time best cornerbacks." His accomplishments due include being an 8-time Pro Bowl winner, an NFC Champion and recipient of the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award.
Williams received the news of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 1. While awaiting his call for the possible nomination, Williams expressed his anxiousness waiting in a hotel for the official announcement. The process to be inducted requires a group of potential finalists to be voted on by a panel.
Nominees were flown in to New York City for the final verdict. Williams was so nervous waiting for the call, that he and his wife Tracy decided to shop around the city to distract themselves. In the end, Williams was selected along with other former players such as Andre Reed, Walter Jones and Michael Strahan to represent the Class of 2014. "When we got the call it was pretty amazing," recalled Williams. As a offensive lineman, Williams is the third St. Louis Rams player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (joining Jackie Slater and Marshall Faulk).
Now that his football days are behind him and he awaits his official induction into the Hall of Fame, Williams will continue to minister to the lives of others."My wife and I we started [the Spirit Church] with a great group of people which allows the things that the Lord has taught me to influence others," said Pastor Williams.
Calling St. Louis a very "philosophical" city that's great to raise a family, Pastor Williams hopes to reach out to as many as possible and help guide them into the right path. "So when I stand here, and think about what is my life's purpose, it's to help people not go to the grave empty," said Pastor Williams. "I almost went to the grave never ever playing professional football."
There has been no official word yet on who the presenter will be who inducts Williams into the Hall of Fame. The Pro Football Hall of Fame will take place this August 2 in Canton, Ohio in the official Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.