On paper, DeAngelo Williams has had a career that the latest NFL draft class can only dream about. He has made a Pro Bowl, rushed for 7,753 yards, scored 64 total touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns, among other accomplishments. Williams turned 33 in April, as he gears up for his 11th NFL season, his second with the Steelers. The running back was in Chicago during the draft, and ThePostGame saw Williams beyond the stats as a candid, witty and thoughtful philosopher.
ThePostGame: What's the most common misconception of DeAngelo Williams?
DEANGELO WILLIAMS: I'm really shy man. I don't really talk much. I just read sit in my room and just read graphic novels because I don't have many friends and many people that like to talk to me. But when I get this opportunity, I like to talk. I did start out quiet and I found out you can change a person's life by simply saying, hey or how was your day? Not everybody gets that opportunity with the way society views you or how you look or the way you dress or how you interact. You hear the weird clichés, socially awkward. I think we're all socially awkward.
TPG: There are so many rookies who just got drafted. What's the best advice you got as a rookie?
WILLIAMS: I got a lot clichés. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I was like dude, I've heard that before.
TPG: How about this, what advice would you give rookies now?
WILLIAMS: It has nothing to do with football because football is football. If you're in college, if you're in high school, if you're in elementary school, if you're in a youth league, if you're in the NFL, football's football. The difference between the National Football League and college is this: In college, you are a broke college student. Nobody gives a damn about your financial stability in the sense that you can't help anybody. The moment your name is called, you are instantly a millionaire in the eyes of many people: Those that consider you family and those that are family. And my thing is because you've made that money doesn't change everybody else's views of, 'Hey, my light bill's late.' You've got to get it paid. They've got to get it paid because they've been established for so long. You have a spending freeze, where you set yourself up for a year or two, where you say no, no, no, so you condition yourself and you condition the people around you, so they don't know what it's like for you to give them money or you'll give them something. Later, if you do want to give them something, you know you're giving out of the kindness of your heart not as opposed to them needing it. Everyone has a light bill, everybody's going to get kicked out of their house, everyone has some financial problems somewhere that you can help them out this one time. What they don't understand is most of these problems are reoccurring and you're just becoming a crutch.
TPG: You look 22, but you were drafted ten years ago.
WILLIAMS: I definitely feel 33.
TPG: Do you think that's a [spending] trend that was going on ten years ago or something that's happening now?
WILLIAMS: Dude, that was going on every day. The trends that are going on right now are trends from back in the day. It's just the media is making light of it now. Everything that is going on today happened in the 40s, the 50s, the 30s, the 1800s, the media wasn't covering everything like they are now. I wish I could meet the guy who decided to interview or TMZ-somebody, so I can punch them in the face.
TPG: Have you ever been interviewed TMZ before?
WILLIAMS: I have. Several times. It's not a bad thing to me because I don't really do anything. I'm a quiet guy.
TPG: Laremy Tunsil. I don't know if you know the situation…
WILLIAMS: I do. It's public. It's an unfortunate situation, his account being hacked. I'm sure there were some blackmail issues there. This is all my opinion. I think he's going to be a great kid, playing football. He had some off-the-field issues earlier. I don't know him, personally, and it's awful for me to even speculate, but I'm going to speculate on behalf of him on his good side because everybody's painting a picture of a joker pretty much.
TPG: So during his draft press conference, he pretty much admitted an exchange of money at Ole Miss ...
WILLIAMS: Is that bad? It's been going on for years that the NCAA has been pocketing millions and millions and millions of dollars. I'm not even going to say billions because that'll probably get me in the paper, so I'll say millions. Millions of dollars are exchanged. He has to sit games or something of that nature because of what they would call a bribe or whatever they may call it in the NCAA. We obviously all need help. I've said I was a broke college student. You got to have somebody help you along the way. Maybe he didn't have the family members to back him up. He may have seen that coach as a father-type or an uncle-type who he reached out to, and boom, there's an NCAA violation.
TPG: He played for a very successful Mississippi team. He beat Alabama twice…
WILLIAMS: Well, he didn't. The program did. It's the program when they win. When they lose, it's the players. You've got to make sure you separate the two.
TPG: Would you say most of the media can't relate to a situation like this?
WILLIAMS: Well, they'll never relate. I say they'll never relate because college football doesn't have fantasy football. Fantasy football single-handedly helped the players in the National Football League and took some of the power away from the teams and get it the players because now people are fans of players as opposed to teams. You look at college, Ole Miss fans are Ole Miss fans. Memphis fans or Memphis fans. They're like, 'He's a good player.' When he goes on to the next level, they're like, 'Oh yeah, I'm a fan of his, but I'm an Ole Miss fan.' It's all about the program, not the players. It's a black eye for the program now, but in five years, nobody's going to care about that. It's still going to be Ole Miss. That's how the NCAA works. It's a revolving door. Somebody's going to get in trouble, it'll be a year or two suspension and whatever sanctions, and then they'll move on.
TPG: You mention your alma mater Memphis. How much Paxton Lynch did you watch this year?
WILLIAMS: I didn't watch much college football last year. I did watch most of their games on CBS Sports, the channel I subscribe to because that's the only way I can watch Memphis sometimes. He's a great quarterback. I hate that he went to Denver, in the AFC. But I'm glad that he did go into the National Football League in the first round. I was hoping he'd go a little higher, but the first 25 teams will be sick that they passed up on them.
Note: The Steelers picked at No. 25, one spot before Lynch was selected.
TPG: You guys obviously lost to the Broncos last year…
WILLIAMS: Too soon.
Williams was injured in Week 17 and missed the Steelers' two playoff games.
TPG: Where'd you watch the Super Bowl?
WILLIAMS: I didn't.
TPG: How'd you feel about your former teammates [the Panthers] getting there?
WILLIAMS: I was excited for them. I knew once they got past Seattle that they had a legitimate shot at making the Super Bowl and then when they got there, I thought it was pretty cool.
TPG: How was the whole experience watching their run during the season last year?
WILLIAMS: I didn't really watch that much ... you do know that we play the same day ...
TPG: Yeah, you probably played on a lot of Sundays ...
WILLIAMS: You do know I'm still in the league…Way to retire me early.
TPG: On a different note, I see the pink hair. Have you had any conversations with the league about wearing some more pink next year?
Williams' mother passed away of breast cancer in 2014 after fighting the disease for ten years. Williams is an active proponent of breast cancer awareness.
WILLIAMS: No. We've been there. We've crossed that bridge. There's no point in crossing it again. They told me how they felt about it and I've moved on. They obviously have too. I've expressed my concerns about certain things, they've expressed theirs, and it was words among gentlemen and we've moved on.
TPG: What can you still do to support your cause?
WILLIAMS: The pink hair. I'm going to play within the rules and stay within the rules and it's not going to cost my team anything, and I'll still convey my message and I'll be on the lookout for other guys doing the same.
TPG: Your teammates pitched in, as well, last year, and the city of Pittsburgh seemed to embrace everything, how much did you appreciate that?
WILLIAMS: Very much. It wasn't just the city of Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania. Breast cancer and cancers alike are 365 days a year and because it's 365 days a year, it's an easy cause to get behind.
TPG: You are still playing, despite what…
WILLIAMS: Yes, despite how you've insinuated the whole time I've been sitting here that I'm done.
TPG: What do you still have to accomplish in your career?
WILLIAMS: Getting to a Super Bowl and winning it. That's pretty much it. I didn't come to the National Football League to be a Hall of Famer. I didn't come to the National Football League to just be in the National Football League. I didn't come to break records. I came to host the Lombardi Trophy and I am yet to do that.
TPG: You're here with Courtyard by Marriott. What's your relationship with them?
WILLIAMS: That's great you asked it. Yesterday, I had a Q&A with some fans at the Courtyard booth in Draft Town. We did the 40-character dash and it was old school versus new school because the younger generation believes older people can't relate to what they're going through, but history just repeats itself. We had a chance to kick some kids' butts. After I finished, I answered some questions, we talked about my mom, breast cancer. It was kind of similar about what we talked about today other than the Tunsil thing. After we were done, I came back out there on stage and everyone was chanting my name and I was like, this must be normal. And they were like, this has never happened.
TPG: Was it like an encore?
WILLIAMS: It was like a James Brown moment, man.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.