Vikings' safety Madieu Williams got a lot of negative recognition around here. . .deservedly, for the most part. . .for his play on the field in 2010. Through all of that, I've always maintained that Williams may have been lousy at safety this year, but he has always been a great humanitarian.
It appears as though the NFL agrees with me, as Madieu Williams has been announced as one of this year's three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The other two finalists are Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears.
Here's a list of Williams' accomplishments from the press release that I was sent.
Williams’ charitable works have achieved local, national and global impact. Locally, he works with the North Community YMCA, United Way and Harvest Prep/Seed Academy and provides season tickets for the kids in his "Dieu’s Crew" program. Williams also hosted a free football camp in Maryland, where he was raised, this past summer, and continues to support the Cincinnati area after a stint playing for the Bengals. Globally, Williams made a $2 million donation to create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland, where he attended college. The center will address public health issues in Prince George’s County and Sierra Leone, where Williams was born. He has already built a primary school in the African nation and is now building a secondary school there as well. His foundation sponsored a mission to Sierra Leone that brought American teachers, surgeons and dentists to help educate the teachers at his school, give free dental cleanings to all of the students and provide free surgeries. Williams came to the Vikings as a free agent in 2008 and has been a stalwart in the defensive backfield. He has started 38 of his 39 games and notched a career-best 96 tackles in 2010. Williams is a leader on the Vikings defense that has ranked in the NFL’s top 10 each of his three seasons with the club. Williams led the Vikings DBs in tackles in 2009 when the team advanced to the NFC Championship game.
The winner of the award will be announced on Fox just before the Super Bowl on February 6. Asomugha and Idonije will be in attendance at the event, but Madieu Williams will not. . .because he's already got a commitment to visit troops serving in the Persian Gulf as part of Super Bowl week. Yeah. . .I guess that's an excusable absence.
Congratulations to Madieu Williams on his recognition for works that will stand long after his playing career has finished.