New England Patriots: Malcolm Williams

Brace waived; Cunningham activated

December, 29, 2012
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The Patriots have waived defensive lineman Ron Brace and promoted two players, wide receiver Kamar Aiken and defensive back Malcolm Williams, from the practice squad, according to a league source. In addition, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, who finished serving a four-game suspension in Week 16, was activated to the 53-man roster.

Brace, a 2009 second-round pick, had four tackles in 10 games played this season. He has been inactive in recent weeks, and was primarily a reserve defensive lineman throughout his tenure with the team.

Aiken was promoted from the practice squad in advance of last week's game, but was subsequently waived on Monday and re-added to the practice squad. He gives the Patriots depth at the receiver spot, where they previously had just four wideouts.

Williams has also spent time on the active roster this season, and adds depth to the secondary and on special teams. Key special teamer and reserve cornerback Marquice Cole is doubtful for Sunday's regular-season finale, and Williams could be called upon to fill his role.

The move to activate Cunningham comes as no surprise, as his suspension had been lifted and he was the team's top reserve defensive end and a key interior rusher in sub-defense packages before it.

The Patriots now have a full 53-man active roster and two open practice squad slots.

DB Williams re-signed to practice squad

November, 20, 2012
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The Patriots have officially re-signed defensive back Malcolm Williams to the practice squad, the team announced on Tuesday.

The move comes as no surprise as Williams, who had been waived by the team on Saturday, passed through waivers on Monday and has been spotted at the team's facility this week.

Originally a 2011 seventh-round draft pick of the Patriots, Williams has bounced back and forth between the active roster and the practice squad in his first two NFL seasons. He was promoted from the practice squad prior to the team's Week 8 game with the Rams in London, and played as a core special-teams player in that game.

The Patriots practice squad is now full at eight players.

Patriots practice squad:

WR Kamar Aiken

FB James Develin

DL Marcus Forston

OL Matt Kopa

CB Sterling Moore

LB Jeff Tarpinian

OL Jeremiah Warren

DB Malcolm Williams

Williams clears waivers, in locker room

November, 19, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After clearing waivers on Monday, New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Williams was spotted in the team's locker room on Monday evening.

Williams likely has returned to the practice squad, although no official announcement has been made.

The 2011 seventh-round draft pick began this season on the practice squad before spending the last three weeks on the active roster. He was waived on Saturday to make room for cornerback Aqib Talib, who was acquired in a trade.

The Patriots' practice squad is now at its eight-man limit, following the signing of wide receiver Kamar Aiken, also on Monday.

Analysis on Talib, Branch moves

November, 17, 2012
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A few quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots' roster moves Saturday -- activating cornerback Aqib Talib to the 53-man roster, promoting receiver Greg Salas from the practice squad, and waiving receiver Deion Branch (hamstring) and defensive back Malcolm Williams (thigh):

1. No surprise on Talib. On Friday, defensive backs Kyle Arrington and Steve Gregory touched on how quickly Talib had picked up the team's defense. Talib has also impressed with his instincts in practice. The question was never whether Talib would be activated for the game; it's more how much he will play. The early indication is that we can expect to see Talib quite a bit Sunday vs. the Colts.

2. Branch's hamstring forces move. Branch was coming off arguably his best game of the season but he showed up on the injury report Thursday. Another team can claim him -- others had the chance to sign him at the start of the year when he was cut before the season opener (he was re-signed by the Patriots after Week 2) -- but his health makes that a tricky situation. With Branch, Brandon Lloyd (knee) and Wes Welker (ankle) also on the injury report, more depth at receiver was needed. As long as Branch isn't claimed by another team, which seems unlikely, he would seemingly be primed to return to the team in future weeks.

3. Time to see what Salas can do. The Patriots obviously liked second-year receiver Greg Salas and his potential, or they wouldn't have traded a seventh-round draft choice to acquire him from the Rams. Yet they ran into a numbers crunch early in the year and waived him, then were pleased to bring him back on the practice squad and ultimately increase his salary to a level as if he were on the active roster. One local reporter predicted that Salas could total 61 receptions this season, and for those doing the math, Salas will need to average 8.7 catches per game (insert joke on the short reporter from ESPNBoston.com here).

4. Williams has a return ticket to practice squad. Second-year player Malcolm Williams still has practice squad eligibility and the Patriots have two open spots after promoting Salas and releasing receiver Jarred Fayson on Saturday.

Football journey: Malcolm Williams

November, 10, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Spend time speaking with second-year New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Williams and one thing immediately becomes clear: He’s a down-to-earth guy who is just happy to have a job, whether it’s on the practice squad or active roster.

The 2011 seventh-round draft choice is currently on the 53-man roster, contributing as a core special teams player.

Williams’ appreciation for a well-paying job in football traces back, in part, to when he was working at a bar in the Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport. The year was 2006, and his football-playing future was very much up in the air.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Williams
Jim Davis/Getty ImagesMalcolm Williams says, "To have that experience of playing in the [Super Bowl], it was probably the best feeling I've ever had."
That was one of the defining parts of Williams’ “football journey," which he shared this week with ESPNBoston.com:

When he first started playing football: “When I was about 7 years old. Me and my friends, our parents signed us up. We had to go take physicals. Being from Texas, it’s real big there.”

First positions: “Running back and safety.”

Top memories of South Grand Prairie (Texas) High School: “First-round playoffs, senior year, against Denton Ryan. They hadn’t lost a first-round playoff game in about 12 years, and we ended up beating them in overtime. We start off at the 20 in overtime, and their first play I ended up picking it and taking it back 80. We had already scored, so the game was over. That was probably the best memory. My senior year, we also beat Euless Trinity, and they were ranked really high in the nation. They ended up winning state that year. That was big.”

Making the transition from high school to college: “I knew I wanted to play football. I was getting offers, mostly from Big 12 schools, and a little after my sophomore year I committed to Texas A&M. After about a year, I decommitted and signed with [Oklahoma].”

Why he never went to Oklahoma: “There is something called the TAKS test, an exit-level exam back in Texas. There are five portions, and the science portion, I didn’t do so well and ended up failing. I ended up sitting out in ’06, when I was supposed to be at OU, and working at Dallas/Fort-Worth airport [as a bar back].”

Taking flight from the airport to Trinity Valley Community College: “Around mid-April, coach Brad Smiley gave me a phone call and asked if I was playing football anywhere. I was like, ‘No, I’m just working at the airport.’ I had already missed my whole ’06 season and he was like, ‘If you really want to play, I have a scholarship for you. Go get your GED and we can make it happen.’ I took that second chance and ran with it. There’s no looking back.”

Using Trinity Valley as a springboard to land at Texas Christian: “The whole reason I chose TCU was because during juco, me and my wife right now, we had our first baby. She’s three years younger than me, we’re both from the same area, and I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want her to be stressed. I was thinking about family. TCU wasn’t really recruiting me, but one of my high school coaches went to church with one of their coaches and he helped make it happen.”

Top football memories at Texas Christian: “We were 13-0 my senior year. We won the Rose Bowl, beating Wisconsin. That was a great memory. To go from where I came from and play with Andy Dalton, Jeremy Kerley and Marcus Cannon, it was a dream come true.”

Being drafted in the seventh round by the Patriots: “That was crazy, because my career at TCU wasn’t what I was expecting. I really didn’t play on defense. Coming out of high school, I was 5A defensive player of the year for the entire state of Texas. That was a little setback, and all of the people in front of me were people I was going to graduate with and they already knew the system. I ended up finding me a good role on special teams and I said, ‘Let me go ahead and run away with these special teams thing,' maybe have a good Pro Day and maybe something would happen [professionally]. I had a pretty good Pro Day and did four Canadian [Football] League tryouts, two Arena ball tryouts, some UFL tryouts. I was going to play football somewhere. There wasn’t anything I wanted to do other than play football to support my family. It was just a shock when Bill [Belichick] called me. He was like, ‘I want to be the first to welcome you to the Patriots family.’”

Expectations leading into the draft: “I didn’t think I’d be drafted. Not a chance. I knew I put out some good numbers on Pro Day, but I didn’t have any film on defense. It was just special teams. I didn’t think I was getting looked at.”

Summing up his time with the Patriots, including playing in last season's Super Bowl: “I’ve had a job. I’ve been blessed to have a job and be coached by these coaches, especially Bill Belichick, one of the greatest minds in football. ... To have that experience of playing in the [Super Bowl], it was probably the best feeling I've ever had.”

Favorite teams and players growing up: “I was a big Cowboys fan. Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, all them. I used to go to the little minicamps they held in Wichita Falls, back when I was little I got a few autographs from them.”

His teammates at home: “I have a beautiful wife who just turned 22, Jessica Williams. We’ve been married since 2010. We have a beautiful little girl, Jadyn, who is 3 years old. Come the Rose Bowl in January, we ended up getting pregnant again, so we also have a 1-year-old, Jordyn -- another little girl. I think we’re through with kids -- we have two who are healthy and we’re living a happy life.”

Summing up his football journey: “I love it. I love every last bit of it. It’s still fun, but you have to be smarter now. It isn’t just running around and hitting like a chicken with your head cut off; you have to actually know what you’re doing. You grow and you learn. It’s a great experience.”

Pats promote DB Malcolm Williams

October, 27, 2012
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The Patriots have promoted practice squad defensive back Malcolm Williams to their active roster, the team announced today.

After placing cornerback Ras-I Dowling on the injured reserve list on Friday, the team needed to add one player to its active roster prior to Sunday's Week 8 matchup with the Rams in London.

Williams, a 2011 seventh-round pick for the Patriots out of TCU, was twice promoted from the practice squad to the active roster last year. He played in five total games, including each of the Patriots' playoff games, recording a single special teams tackle.

He was waived as part of the team's final roster cuts coming out of training camp this year, and subsequently signed to the practice squad.

He adds value as both a special teams player and reserve safety, where the team is thin as both Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory will miss Sunday's game due to injury.

Practice squad: Williams in, Victorian out

October, 25, 2011
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Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesDB Malcolm Williams is back.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed defensive back Malcolm Williams to their practice squad Tuesday, releasing defensive back Josh Victorian.

The Patriots drafted Williams in the seventh round (219th overall) of this year's draft, but he was released in late August. Williams appeared to injure his leg during the preseason. He contribute one special teams tackle during the exhibiton slate.

Victorian spent training camp with the Baltimore Ravens after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech. He originally signed with the Patriots practice squad on Sept. 22, then released on Oct. 5 when the team inked Sterling Moore. Victorian returned to the practice squad two days later.

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