Perseverance Takes Grand Prairie Native to Super Bowl Field

Former TCU, South Grand Prairie High player living his dream

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5
    Malcolm Williams never gave up on his dream of playing professional football.

    A North Texas football player who was one step away from working at Walmart is instead playing for the New England Patriots.

    Malcolm Williams never gave up on his dream of playing professional football.

    "I'm never going to give up," he said. "I'm still going. I've got that drive to go, and I'm going to keep going, and I'm not stopping."

    And now, the former TCU player is in Indianapolis at Super Bowl XLVI.

    "The road up to here now has been crazy," said Jessica Williams, his wife.

    The Patriots drafted Malcolm Williams in last year's draft. Jessica Williams said her husband was watching the NFL Draft on his phone when the team called.

    "It was very emotional," she said. "We were happy, excited. We called the whole family. We went and bought Patriots stuff after that -- like, the day of."

    But his time with the team didn't last long. Malcolm Williams was cut during training camp and was out of football after a brief stay on their practice squad.

    Jessica Williams said they had no idea it would be like that.

    "We were very surprised, you know, because you think, 'Oh, you get drafted, you get a guaranteed year with these people, you make all this money,' ... and it just wasn't like that," she said.

    To keep money coming in, Malcolm Williams said he decided to get a job.

    "Sitting on the couch, we were just looking at each other. We had all day ahead of us, and I was like, "Babe, I think I'm going to get a job at Walmart. I can't sit here," he said.

    He said he went to Walmart and filled out an application. But before he was placed on Walmart's schedule, he was put back on the Patriots' roster in mid-December.

    He saw time on special teams in two of New England's regular season games and both of their playoff games.

    "He's been fighting the odds, fighting the odds, fighting the odds, and finally he's getting his shot," said Ken Graber, Williams' coach at South Grand Prairie High School.

    Graber said Williams has a "refuse to lose" attitude.

    "He was special athletically, that was very obvious," he said. "There's been a lot of special athletes go through here -- he's in the top five in my books."

    Graber said Williams overcame a lot in life.

    "He overcame being at home alone a lot in high school," he said. "His mom was a truck driver, and so he was home alone a lot while she was out on the road, and he kind of raised himself and his little brother."

    Mature beyond his age, Williams kept his family stable at home, while excelling on the field South Grand Prairie High School.

    He got a scholarship offer from Oklahoma but could not take it because of test scores. But he was undeterred by that setback.

    Graber said Williams sat out a year and attended junior college for two years before ending up at TCU.

    "Malcolm's one of my favorites -- he's been from the first day he got here," TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.

    During his two years, at TCU he never started a game for Patterson. Yet he never gave up his dream of playing pro football.

    Jessica Williams said her husband was very adamant about playing football.

    "He did Canadian and UFL tryouts because he was like, 'No matter what, I'm playing football. Even if we have to move to Canada,'" she said.

    With each twist and turn, Malcolm Williams leaned on his family and his belief in himself. And now he's at the Super Bowl, even after it had appeared so many times as if life had other plans for him.

    "He's living his dream completely, and it's even more since they're going to the Super Bowl ... and he gets to be playing in it," his wife said.

    "I mean it's hit me already, but I'm pretty sure it won't hit me until I'm lined up at kickoff, when it comes down to it," Williams said.

    NBC 5's Matt Barrie contributed to this report.