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Even on bad teams, Williams good enough for Hall

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POSTED July 30, 2014 11:24 p.m.

PHOENIX (AP) — Aeneas Williams spent most of his NFL career on bad teams.

But that didn’t prevent him from pursuing excellence, becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the league and earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In his 10 seasons with Arizona, the Cardinals had one winning season.

But despite that, he either led or shared the NFL lead in interceptions three times and made six Pro Bowls. Williams never missed a game and started all but one. He had a streak of 157 consecutive starts.

And he never let the poor play around him affect his performance.

“Just refuse to become a loser even though we weren’t winning a whole lot of games,” Williams said.

He finally made it to the playoffs with the Cardinals in 1998, then intercepted two passes as Arizona stunned the Cowboys in Dallas in the first round.

“I really saw the makings of what the current (Cardinals) organization is experiencing now,” Williams said.

But the Cardinals slipped back into their inept ways and, after a decade in the desert, Williams left to join a winner.

On draft day of 2001, the Cardinals traded him to the St. Louis Rams for draft picks.

That year, for just the second time in his career, Williams was in the playoffs.

He started at left cornerback, helping transform a woeful Rams defense, and St. Louis reached the Super Bowl, where it lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 20-17.

Williams was moved to safety in the final years of his career, retiring in 2004, leaving a trail of admiration.



Jerry Jones: Brent out
of rehab, NFL question next

OXNARD (AP) — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks.

Jones said Wednesday from training camp that Brent was released from rehab this week.

The 26-year-old Brent was convicted in January of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed Jerry Brown, a Cowboys practice squad player. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation. He left jail last month and entered a rehab facility in Dallas.

A spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office didn’t return a message, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had nothing new on Brent’s case.

Brent retired last year and will have to apply for reinstatement. He could face a suspension under the league’s personal conduct policy.

The release from rehab came about the same time the Cowboys lost rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence for at least two months with a broken right foot. Dallas is revamping its defensive line after releasing franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware in March.

Brent had been a backup but was starting at the time of the fatal crash in the Dallas suburb of Irving.



Chiefs QB Smith focusing
on football, not contract

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The moment when Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will no longer discuss his contract situation is rapidly approaching, even though he makes it seem as if the deadline has already passed.

Sure, Smith politely answers every question about his uncertain future, but he also makes it clear that he would rather not.

The Chiefs have been talking to his representatives for months about a contract extension, but the sides remain far apart in their negotiations.

“You’re getting to the point where either way, you want it to stop being a distraction,” Smith said after practice Wednesday. “You guys know how I feel about this and it’s the truth, yeah, you get to the point — and I’m there — where you finally cross the line and it’s just football from here on out. I’m done talking about it, behind the scenes as well.”

Asked whether he has a specific deadline for breaking off talks, Smith replied: “No hard line, yeah, but at some point mentally it’ll come to me. ‘It’s over. Let’s just focus on the season.’”

Smith is due to make $7.5 million this season, the final year of the contract he signed with San Francisco.

And most suspect he’ll land an extension similar to what Colin Kaepernick received from the 49ers — six years, $126 million with $61 million guaranteed — after helping the Chiefs to bounce back from two wins before his arrival to an 11-5 record and the playoffs.

“There’s communication going on,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said simply. “Alex is a good football player and he’s great for this football team. We’re lucky to have him here.”

Beyond that, there wasn’t a whole lot Reid was willing to divulge. He’s no longer involved in most of the contract talks, as he was in Philadelphia, deferring instead to Chiefs general manager John Dorsey — who has likewise danced around the subject of Smith’s contract.

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