This is an excerpt from Aeneas Williams’ 2014 Football Hall of Fame induction speech. It is great for everyone in that the message is universal. Please take the time to read it and be inspired and motivated. This not about me and this site, this is about you and what’s ahead.
“Hey, let me tell you first thing, begin with the end in mind. People say what’s it like to be up here? I’m going to tell you what it’s like. I learned write down what’s in your heart. See, growing up I grew up in church, but I never gave my life to Christ. I didn’t understand how God related to everyday life. When I was growing up, I thought church was a religious deal. You go sin for six days, then on the 7th day, empty your sin bucket and go do it again.
But I’m going to tell you something, I was on pace to graduate with my degree in accounting in three years and I don’t even like numbers. My brother Achilles graduated with his degree in accounting in three and a half years. He called me back and he said little brother, slow down. You’ll be working the rest of your life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, it was at that time over the two years, freshman and sophomore year my uncle William and a guy named Michael Lindsey who was on Southern University’s football team who also played with me in high school. He would always, and my uncle would always say, they called me Nicky in New Orleans, so if I hear Nicky, I know you know you’re from New Orleans. And they would say, why don’t you play football? I’m going to tell you why I didn’t play football because I didn’t know how God talked to you. I would hear people say God talk to me. I was standing next to them; I didn’t hear anything. I tell you how you know. A week before the season started my junior year in college, it was different. Unlike the freshman, sophomore year.
In September, you football guys know when the weather changes. It goes from dead hot summer to the fall. We all know because it’s getting time right now. We’re itching right now on this stage. We know it’s getting ready to be football season. Yeah, you fans know it’s getting ready to be football season. So how do you know? Some people say you got to be a Christian to know God talks to you. No! God is talking to us all the time.
How do you think I got on defense? Troy Descano, when I was playing 95 pound ball, and we decided I was a big bad running back. I emulated Larry Csonka. I went out running, and we decided we hadn’t lost a game, and we decided we’re big and bad, we’re going to play the 110 pound guys, and Troy Descano was at the 110 pound guys. I came through the hole, Troy hit me so hard. I was on the ground wondering when I’m going to catch my next breath. It was at that time God spoke to me. You know what he said? He said, “You got to be better hitting people than getting hit.”
So I’m telling you pay attention to the signs God’s giving you. Back to the story, all of a sudden when it comes down to God talking my heart changed a week before the season started. That’s what happened. All of a sudden, it entered my heart to walk on the football team a week before the season starts. Made no sense, but the first sensible thing I did was didn’t tell my parents. I’m already on my parents’ dime. I’m getting ready to finish, and I didn’t tell my home boys who were from New Orleans. I walked on, started my fifth game Bayou Classic, that’s right, Bayou Classic, all you State people, it’s Southern University. God’s favorite color is blue.
It was after the Bayou Classic after my second year playing, I read in the newspaper one of my coaches said, “Aeneas Williams is a good player, but I don’t think he’ll ever go pro because, at best he runs a 4.6, 40.”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the difference when I learned the difference between facts and truth. Facts were I did run a 4.6, 40. The truth is I found my teammate Brian Thomas, and Brian, if you’re here, if you could stand up. Brian was the fastest guy on Southern University’s track team and the fastest guy on Southern’s football team. He was a wide receiver, and he was our Usain Bolt, 6’3″, and Brian wrote on his practice pants siren is speed, and speed kills. I couldn’t cover him. I’d lineup ten yards off Brian and he’d run right by me.
Brian had thing when he’d run by you he’d make this noise (imitating). So when I read that I didn’t get bitter. Some people spend their whole life to prove people wrong. The goal is not to prove people wrong. The goal is to reach your potential. The first thing I did was went to Brian Thomas because mentors are critical. You have to find credible others. I didn’t go to the offensive line. I went to Brian. I went to Brian after we had upset Grambling. I said, Brian, can you help me get faster. Brian Thomas looked me in the eyes like I’m looking at these Hall of Famers. He said, Aeneas you can run a 4.3, 40. It baffled my mind because all my life I’ve been a long distance guy. They said you can’t have speed, you either got it or you don’t.
I said, Brian what do I do? He said Aeneas, walk on the track team. Now I’m in graduate school. I’m going into January. I’m going to finish my final season while in graduate school in the fall. I said, Brian, what do we do? He said get next to me because more is caught than taught. I said, Brian, and we running, we working out. All of a sudden we’re finished running, and Brian is walking like we hadn’t worked out. I’m on the ground and my legs are telling me, Aeneas, you can keep this up or we through. Ladies and gentlemen, by April of that spring, the scouts came and I ran a 4.3, 40. I was the number two rated cornerback in all the country.”
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