Houston Roughnecks running back Andre Williams’ interest in football came from watching his brother play the game. Andre was further inspired to be a running back by professional players who appeared on his television.
“I started watching professional football. I was looking at running backs like Tiki Barber and Chris Martin and those guys, and later on, Adrian Peterson. I just always loved that position.”
Still, it was his brother that first inspired Andre. In the most powerful homage ever, Andre wears “44” on his jersey, which was the same number his brother wore.
After a spectacular High School career, Andre reportedly had offers from colleges like Temple, Akron and Vanderbilt, but he chose to committ to Boston College.
“I liked the conference,” Andre said. “Being able to play in the ACC, I figured I’d be up and down the coast… we played Clemson, we played Florida State… sometimes North Carolina and Duke. I thought it was a great conference, and a great opportunity to go to a school like BC.”
After a lackluster season in 2012, Andre remembers that everything came together in 2013, his senior season, where he put up 2177 rushing yards at a 6.1 yards per carry average, and 18 touchdowns. He soon found himself as one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy that year, and finished fourth in voting.
When asked what he would do with the Heisman Trophy, if he won, Andre gave credit to his teammates by remarking he would, “Chop it up and give each of the offensive linemen a piece of the trophy.”
After college, Andre was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants. In his rookie year, he was the Giants leading rusher with 721 yards and 7 touchdowns. However, after having to share rushing duties with Rashaad Jennings in his sophomore season, his time in New York came to an end.
“Man, that was my first experience, my first love with the NFL game. And yes, you know, it came and went,” Andre said. “There is a lot of things, like the one with the roster, and with the business of football. It becomes a business.”
“You know, it’s not so much about camaraderie and it’s not so much of, you know, a great team, and win with your brothers and all that,” Andre philosophized. “It’s about entertainment, it’s about superstars, it’s about money. You know, some people get to ride it for a while. Some people get to ride it for short time. I was one of those guys that got to ride it for a short time. But, I was still able to get in there and leave my mark and, you know, continue to build on what I started.”
Andre still laments leaving the Giants, but he is able to put a positive spin on this part of his football career. “I’ve got a hole in my heart, because I thought I would be there longer,” Andre said. “But it was two years and everything happens for a reason.”
After the Giants, Andre was picked up by the Chargers. However, after damaging ligaments in his wrist, his time with the Chargers also came to an end.
One of the most accomplished rushers in D-I history.
— XFL (@xfl2020) October 10, 2019
After taking a year off football, Andre was invited to workout at the XFL Summer Showcase in New York. Andre eagerly jumped at the chance to show he was ready to continue his football career. He was also surprised to see how coaches and staff from the Giants were now working for the XFL.
Andre wondered if this helped his chances of being drafted, but he does feel that “everything happens for a reason.”
It was on October 15th, during the “Skilled Player” round of the XFL draft, that Andre received a call from the Houston Roughnecks.
“It wasn’t New York that called me,” Andre said. “It was Houston. I am so very thankful to be a Houston Roughneck. And if anybody really knows me… and they actually saw how I play… I only know one way to play… I’m a Roughneck through and through.”
A Roughneck! As rough as they come, trust me. Very thankful xflroughnecks , let’s get to it. https://t.co/NdAdr1yYqb
— Andre Williams (@drewill44) October 15, 2019
Hear Andre Williams’s entire interview in our 20 October Podcast – “XFL Xtra Episode 7-2019 – 568 Players – Andre Williams and Mike Mitchell“
A rabid football fan, and founder and owner of XFLBoard.com since April 2000, Mark Nelson is happy to see the XFL come back for a second go around the buoy.