Former Vanderbilt star Jimmy Williams passed away from an unspecified illness on Friday at just 43 years old. Both the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers released brief statements mourning the loss of Williams and sending condolences to the Williams family.
The 49ers mourn the passing of alumni Jimmy Williams.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) July 8, 2022
Our organization sends its condolences to his wife, Chandra, and the entire Williams family. pic.twitter.com/tvRJGpyg8i
The Seahawks are devastated by the loss of former Special Teams Captain Jimmy Williams. Williams played two seasons for the Seahawks and was a member of Seattle’s Super Bowl XL team. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Williams family.— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) July 9, 2022
Photo courtesy of @gonzalesphoto pic.twitter.com/Tp7HlUXMc0
Williams was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 6th round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He ultimately began his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, playing cornerback and returning punts and kicks from 2001 to 2004. His only career touchdown, an 89-yard punt return, actually came against the Seahawks in the 2002 season.
In 2005, Williams signed with the Seahawks as a free agent after Alex Bannister went down with an injury. As he did in San Francisco, Williams played corner and returned punts. One of Williams’ two interceptions that year was in that memorable 42-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
Williams would get co-captain honors on special teams and he played in every game of the 2006 regular season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That would unfortunately be Williams’ final game in the NFL.
After his playing career ended, Williams returned to his alma mater Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge as both a teacher and a coach on the football team. Most recently he served as an assistant athletic director at the school. By all accounts he was a beloved figure in his community and will be missed by many.
“It’s a tough day,” Episcopal athletic director Randy Richard said. “It is such a huge loss. He was a great colleague, a friend and a coach that the athletes here loved. He was always smiling.
“We saw him last week. Chandra (Williams’ wife) brought their son to our (youth) football camp. Jimmy got to watch some 7-on-7. He got to see all the coaches and guys on the team. I am thankful for that.”
RIP Jimmy Williams. We leave you with this photo in our database of Jimmy being interviewed by the late comedian and voice actor Gilbert Gottfried during Super Bowl week.