By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Pat Williams – Signed by the Bills in 1997

Pat Williams deserves plenty of credit for his football career. He had several chances to get sidetracked and ignored, but overcame them to become a very good player at his position for a long time.

Williams bounced among three different colleges before finishing at Texas A&M at the age of 24. The Bills had seen enough of him there to sign him to a free-agent contract. He only suited up for one game as a rookie, but became a contributor in his next seasons. In 2001, Williams was ready to start at defensive tackle. He was a regular through 2004, and the 6-foot-3, 317-pound defender certainly clogged up the middle of the line.

Then it was time to test the free agent waters. Minnesota signed him, but some wondered how long a 34-year-old nose tackle could last. The Vikings were thrilled by the answer. Williams picked up his play and made the Pro Bowl for three straight years. He started right through the 2010 season when he was 38, and retired as one of the Vikings’ best-ever signings. Just remember that Pat was a success story in Buffalo too.

He was also good in Minnesota:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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