With this afternoon’s signing of safety Madieu Williams, the Redskins have added another DMV-native and lifelong Redskins fan, joining Josh Wilson, Joshua Morgan, Will Montgomery, Kevin Barnes, Evan Royster, and Travon Bellamy on the current roster.
He also joins Barnes as another former Maryland Terrapin playing in the Redskins secondary.
But to call Williams a true DMV-native might be a tad hasty. While he is a graduate of Duval High School in Lanham, Md., his story began in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he lived until the age of 9. Shortly after his family emigrated to the United States, tensions in Sierra Leone spilled over into a bloody civil war, causing his family anguish about the extended family left behind.
But through the status and paychecks provided by a career in the NFL, Williams has found a way to give back in a major way (via NBC News):
For this and other efforts, Williams was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year for the 2010 season, which honors the player who best represents Payton’s excellence on the field and his selfless dedication to the community. Williams was an easy selection for voters, but was actually unable to accept his award because he was busy visiting deployed servicemen and women last February.
He said at the time:
“It is a tremendous honor to win this award named after Walter Payton, one of the greatest men to ever play in the National Football League,” said Williams. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to accept the award, but it’s an even greater honor to be here in Iraq with Task Force Iron Horse on a goodwill tour watching the Super Bowl with our troops.”
He has also created his own foundation (aptly named The Madieu Williams Foundation), donated $2 million dollars to his alma mater, and generously supported a program that gave underserved children in the Twin Cities free tickets to Vikings tickets during his time with the team.
I think that’s what Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have been talking about with adding character to the Redskins organization.
To hear more about his story, check out his exclusive interview with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation, airing tonight on CSN Washington at 5:30 and 11:30 p.m.