“He told me that a strong man gets through this,” Kyle Williams said. “He said, `I have no doubt you will,’ and that’s the last time we talked about it.”
Williams felt guilty about last year’s loss, but said teammates immediately came to his defense and supported him. He is getting the same vibes from them now as he watches while they play for the NFL title.
“We’re like a family, and we comfort each other, help each other out,” he said. “The guys like myself and Mario (Manningham) and Kendall (Hunter), who are hurt and can’t play, we’re still a big part of our success.”
Coincidentally, Williams was injured trying to avoid Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma _ one of the players initially suspended in the bounty case _ in San Francisco’s 31-21 win at the Superdome on Nov. 25. He re-entered the stadium for the first time Tuesday during Super Bowl media day, admitting it felt “strange.”
He also said he has an empty feeling, but that would change with a win Sunday.
“Honestly it’s been bittersweet because I’m not lacing them up, I’m not going to be able to be out there,” Williams said. “But I’m still there with them. I’m playing my role in a sense.
“I’m a semi-coach at this point, helping out the younger guys, whatever I can see on the sidelines. I’ve got the earpiece in … I have a limited role right now, but it’s my role. I’ve got to do it.”
Not that the father expected anything less of the son.
“He’s been around athletics all his life and he knows there are different factors that go into ultimate team success,” Kenny Williams said. “That’s one of the things that has been expressed to me from Trent directly is that Kyle’s got some leadership abilities and he did not want him to go away like some guys do when they get hurt. He wanted his voice heard and he wanted him front and center with all the responsibilities. I’m glad to hear that he’s following through on all that.”
Still, Kyle Williams would prefer to follow through on it with a big catch or long punt return.
“It ticks me off, because you want to suit up and help the team and you can’t,” he said.
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in New Orleans contributed to this story.
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