It’s been nothing short of a sweet homecoming for defensive tackle Xavier Williams, who, after receiving a contract offer from the Kansas City Chiefs in March, packed up his things and left the desert in Arizona for the greener pastures of Missouri — his home state.
Williams is from Kansas City and attended Grandview High School. Now he’s playing for the NFL team he grew up cheering for.
“Man, it’s amazing,” Williams said. “A lot of guys grow up dreaming about their childhood team and getting a chance to play and only a few guys get an opportunity to play in the NFL — even still rarely do they get an opportunity to come and enjoy home cooked meals with all the family and everything. It’s been amazing.”
But being with his biological family isn’t the only thing Williams is happy about. As it turns out, his new Chiefs family is bringing a whole new meaning to the word.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Williams said of joining the Chiefs. “I’ve only been with one team my whole life (the Cardinals), so you don’t really know how teams work until you get into the league. I came here and I was really happy to find out it’s a very family oriented team, very close-knit group of guys from everybody from the GM down to the players. They’re really welcoming, really close, everybody gets along and has a good time. You can just feel it as you walk through the building every day.”
Another thing that Williams is happy about is the Chiefs defense, and, more specifically, the teammates that will be playing alongside him there this season.
“I think we’ve got a good defensive front,” Williams said. “Everybody across the board – Chris Jones is young and is going to be an animal. Allen Bailey is a proven veteran and has been doing it for a while – I’m trying to match what those guys bring to the table. Just everybody -I’m really excited to see what these guys can do.”
Jones had some good things to say about what Williams brings to the back line, too—especially when it comes to his nose tackle expertise.
“Xavier is a great guy,” Jones said. “He teaches me a lot especially about the nose position which I don’t play much of. He gives me in and outs of what I could do using my speed and agility and with the body frame I have things I could work on bettering myself at the nose position. Then he’s a great guy for the group. He’s a leader in the room. He helps everyone out, trying to give you points on what you can get better at. That was a great plus to the room.”
And the defense isn't the only thing that Williams is excited about.
There is one game on the calendar Williams has almost assuredly already marked down: the Raiders in Oakland on December 2.
“I have played against the [Oakland] Raiders before, but [the rivalry’s] always kind of a little bit in the back of my mind,” Williams said. “Like, I don’t like these guys I don’t like the black and silver, but now being in the red and gold, this will bring a whole other dynamic to it because now you can really let that emotion kind of well up and flow out of you while representing the city.”
And how will it feel for Williams as he takes Arrowhead Stadium as a Chief for the first time? It’s a moment he imagines will be very emotional.
“Coming home, growing up as a kid seeing the jet flying overhead, the anthem going everything like that that will be big,” Williams said. “Then getting to run out of that tunnel when they call your name having friends and family in the stands that will be like a dream come true.”