Houston Texans offensive lineman Brennan Williams hasn’t even begun his rookie training camp yet, but he’s already got his future mapped out.
Williams had mentioned back in college that if football didn’t work out, he wanted to become a pro wrestler. So far, as Williams said, “football is going pretty well.” The UNC product was the No. 89 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. But he still has dreams of starring in the WWE once his first career is over and done with.
Just to play it safe, I asked him if he would be interested in wrestling after a “20-year NFL career.”
“Absolutely. And I like how you said 20-year career,” Williams said over the phone. “Yeah, after a lengthy and healthy career, if the opportunity were to present itself, I would be 100 percent up for it.”
Back in May, WWE announcer turned talent developer Jim Ross said the WWE was looking into a partnership with the NFL to get more talent from the football ranks.
?Everybody doesn?t make the 53-man roster,? Ross told Jim Miller and Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio. ?Some guys are going to be looking for work, and we?ve got some job openings. Maybe we can put the synergies of those two entities together and create something wonderful someday.?
Plenty of football players have turned to wrestling once their playing days were over. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ernie Ladd, Bronco Nagurski, Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar have all spent time in the squared circle and on the gridiron. Roman Reigns, aka Joe Anoa’i, who currently holds the WWE Tag Team Championship belts as a member of “The Shield,” played defensive tackle with Georgia Tech before spending some time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings.
Williams has already been in connection with Ross since being down in Texas.
“Actually, just being in Houston and playing football so far in the month or two I?ve been here, my wrestling network has kind of spread,” Williams said. “I?ve got connections to Jim Ross and [former wrestler and current WWE SmackDown general manager] Booker T now. Those are opportunities that a lot of guys otherwise wouldn?t have.”
Williams certainly has the size and look for sports entertainment. The Easton, Mass., and Catholic Memorial High School product stands 6-foot-6, 318 pounds and has long, partially-bleached dreadlocks. The WWE is always looking for bigger and more athletic wrestlers, and few can offer up that kind of combination like Williams.
“Some of the more talented guys [in the WWE] are little guys,” Williams said. “But the guys they?re looking for are big strong, muscular-looking guys. There?s obviously a lot of them in football.”
On top of wanting to become a WWE superstar, Williams may also be the biggest fan of sports entertainment in the NFL. His twitter feed (@GREATBLACKOTAKU) is filled with WWE musings every Monday during WWE RAW and monthly pay-per-views.
Williams started watching the WWE back in middle school when he happened upon an old PlayStation video game.
“Then it was like, ?Wow, this is the coolest thing ever. I need to start watching this for real,’? Williams said.
He was heartbroken on Sunday while watching the Money in the Bank pay-per-view when one of his favorites, Mark Henry, lost to John Cena. Henry is on the verge of retirement and had a shot at the WWE Championship belt.
“I was kind of crushed by that,” Williams said. “That cut me pretty deep when Mark lost. Especially tapping out. I?m kind of like, ‘This is the twilight of his career. Just give him the title.’ He kind of deserves it. I didn?t honestly think he was going to win, but I knew in my heart of hearts that he could do it. That hurt me, but I thought for the most part it was a good match.”
Henry, too, came from a “real” sport. The “World’s Strongest Man” competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics as a weight lifter and holds numerous world records for a drug-tested athlete.
Since the WWE is a scripted sport, Williams mentioned that he likes being wrong when it comes to the outcome of matches. He expected Daniel Bryan to win the main event on Sunday night, but Randy Orton took the Money in the Bank briefcase in a surprise twist.
Williams made the analogy between wanting to be surprised by the WWE and liking that he doesn’t know what’s coming next during his NFL journey.
“It?s kind of interesting being in this position of not knowing again,” Williams said. “I?ve kind of been pretty comfortable for the past four years — having an idea of what?s coming my way and now I?m actually in the position where I?m a rookie again. Kind of like what I just said. I like being wrong about wrestling. I like not knowing what?s going on. I?m excited.”
And just because Williams has far-off dreams of becoming a wrestler, don’t think that he’s not taking his career with the Texans seriously. He’s already down in Houston while most of his other teammates are still on vacation and he’s soaking up advice from his father, Brent Williams, who spent 11 years in the league with the Patriots, Seahawks and Jets.
“His piece of advice is — coming into training camp next week — he told me to make sure that all my affairs were in order for this week,” Williams said of his father. “So make sure all the bills are paid, nothing?s weighing on my mind when I step onto the field next week.”
Williams got good grades in college (and in the wake of the North Carolina academics scandal, he specified that he earned them), but he said it’s nice to be able to concentrate 100 percent on football, without also having to go to class.
“That?s awesome for me,” Williams said. “It?s kind of — I?ve had to find out what to do with myself now that I do have free time. It is good just to go to work and be done with it when you?re done with it at the end of the day.”
Williams is staying down in Houston until training camp kicks off on July 26. He’ll be competing for a starting spot on the offensive line with Derek Newton, who started 14 games at right tackle last season, and Ryan Harris, who started two games at right tackle.
So, after that aforementioned 20-year career concludes, don’t be surprised to see the WWE’s next giant culled from the NFL. And for the record, he wouldn’t take on a nickname in the WWE, preferring to go by his full name, and his finisher would be the Muscle Buster.