PHOENIX – Five interview booths and a much greater distance in terms of social maturity separated teammates Marshawn Lynch and Kevin Williams during Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day session with the Seattle Seahawks.
At the end of a row of risers sat Lynch, the NFL’s most media-unfriendly player, and darn proud and much poorer because of it.
Lynch surprised about 8,000 fans and roughly 6,000 credentialed media members when he was the first Seahawk to walk into US Airways Center, sit down and begin answering questions. Then he surprised no one when he stood up and exited after 4 minutes, 51 seconds of a scheduled one-hour interview session.
In between, the grumpy running back answered roughly 30 questions by saying basically the same thing: “I’m here so I won’t get fined.” ESPN had reported that he risked a $500,000 fine if he didn’t show up.
Meanwhile, five risers down was another quiet guy acting a whole lot more gentlemanly as he soaked in his first Super Bowl experience at pro football’s ancient age of 34.
“People ask a lot of weird questions,” said Williams, whose first season in Seattle was preceded by 11 with the Vikings. “But it’s cool. I’d rather be here than at home.”
There wasn’t a question that Williams didn’t seem to enjoy during a moment that he described as “kind of surreal.”
When someone looking to promote Sunday’s halftime show asked him to name his favorite Katy Perry song, he said “Give me a couple of her songs.”
“ ‘Firework’, ‘Roar’ …” the promoter offered.
“I think that firework song is pretty cool,” Williams said. “I didn’t know she sung it though. It sounds like some of the movies my kids watch.”
A year ago, the Vikings hired Mike Zimmer, who identified defensive line as the team’s top priority. Getting younger was a must, he decided.
Williams didn’t fit the rebuilding plan, but obviously he wasn’t finished as a player. Not when you consider that the two teams that pushed the hardest to sign him were this year’s Super Bowl participants.
Williams said he visited the Patriots but was swayed by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s pitch to join the defending Super Bowl champions. The fact that Williams would be the oldest player on the team actually was a good thing for him.
“I think New England was the much older group,” Williams said. “Just playing with such a lively D-line and a lively group of guys in general, it just gives the old dog a lot more energy.”
Williams made six Pro Bowls and five first-team All-Pro teams as a three-technique tackle for the Vikings. In Seattle, he became somewhat of a savior on one of the best defenses in NFL history when he shifted into the starting lineup at nose tackle when Brendan Mebane suffered a season-ending torn hamstring in early November.
“At this point, it’s just a chance to win for me,” Williams said. “It wasn’t an ideal situation coming in and playing nose tackle. But when Brandon went down, I was nominated. I just roll with it.”
Williams also said he might do as Matt Birk did two years ago: become a former Viking who uses a Super Bowl victory to call it a career.
“You’ve seen a lot of great players go out when they win the Super Bowl,” Williams said. “If we can win the Super Bowl, that probably will play into my decision.”
Then again, a 13th season at age 35 isn’t out of the question either.
“I don’t know,” he said. “If somebody wants my services bad enough, I could see playing some more.”