Vince Williams may have been the happiest young player on the Steelers when veteran linebacker James Harrison was coaxed out of retirement in September 2014.
Williams arrived as a rookie in 2013, and his locker was next to Harrison’s old locker at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. That was when Harrison joined the Cincinnati Bengals, and then hung up the cleats, briefly.
Once Harrison rejoined the team, wrote the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he took his stall next to Williams. There, beside Harrison and Antonio Brown, Williams soaked in as much wisdom as he could.
“I actually thank God for it,” Williams said. “James has had a big influence on my life, whether it’s been communicating with him or just through osmosis, seeing him every day and being around that and being exposed to that.”
Now Williams is ready to start at linebacker after spending four years as the top reserve at inside linebacker.
"The Steelers were comfortable enough with Williams that they allowed longtime starter Lawrence Timmons to sign with Miami in the offseason. Williams has 17 NFL starts under his belt, but he left nothing to chance this summer," wrote the Post.
"When the opportunity arose again to train with Harrison he jumped at the chance. It’s something he has done for the past few years. After the Steelers broke minicamp in June, Williams went to Arizona to train for a month."
Harrison has played host to Williams, Ryan Shazier and other young Steelers in hopes his mentoring will help the defense regain the heights it enjoyed when Harrison was in his prime years. Most Steelers fans might be aware of the famous workouts. He posts many of his exercises on his Instagram account.
“‘Deebo’ works out every morning at 5 o’clock. Every single morning. I was making a joke the other day. I was like, ‘Man, if I ever wanted to kidnap you it would be so easy because I always know where you are.’ Just to have that consistency for as long as he has is so impressive.”
“What people don’t really understand is the most impressive part about James is his mentality and his approach to the game,” Williams said. “Most people just see the feats of strength. That’s impressive, but more than that, it’s just his mind."