Adam Interviews Roland Williams

The former NFL player talks about his life before and after his football career

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Many of us know Roland Williams as Big Ro, the East High grad turned Super Bowl champ.

But not many people know it took some time for Williams to show promise.

“I was actually terrible at football when I first started. My freshman year at East High School, I played O line and D line and was not good at all,” Williams said. 

He rode the varsity bench his sophomore year, then broke his foot the first game of his junior year. 

It wasn’t until his senior year Williams caught the eye of, well, everyone. 

A string of successes followed and was capped by a Super Bowl win in 2000 with the St. Louis Rams. 

Asked what it felt like to win the big game, Williams said, “The best. I’m still in the afterglow.”

But Williams doesn’t live in the afterglow, nor does he live solely in L.A.

Every summer he travels back to Rochester with child poverty in his sights.

“I got tired of talking about it, reading about it in the paper, online, having discussions, it's time for the individuals who care about Rochester in real way, time for someone to do something is here,” Williams said. 

He started the Champion Academy.

For three years, 300 kids have received a form of guidance Williams found himself through Teens on Patrol and the Boy and Girls Club.

“We're not a 1-on-1 mentoring program, that makes us different than Big Brother, Big Sister. Our program is more about cooperative learning, we tap into secret sauce that we have these relatable mentors, guys who may have a previous situation with an opportunity to make a difference,” Williams said. 

So while we may know Big Ro as the man who has the big win behind him, these kids know Big Ro as the man who sees hundreds of wins in front of him.

To learn more about Champion Academy, click here

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