GREEN BAY – Tramon Williams is back in green and gold.
The Packers have re-signed the Pro Bowl cornerback, the team announced Friday. Williams spent his first nine NFL seasons in Green Bay and played a pivotal role during the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV run in 2010.
The 5-foot-11, 191-pound cornerback started 83 of the 111 games he played during his first run with the Packers, posting 386 tackles, 25 interceptions, 125 passes defensed, 4½ sacks, five forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.
The move reunites Williams with Packers pass-game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr., who helped develop the former Louisiana Tech walk-on from an undrafted practice-squad player to one of the league’s leading ball hawks from 2008-11.
Here’s five things to know – or remember – about the Packers’ returning cornerback:
1. Williams is coming off a productive 2017 campaign
Williams’ career was in limbo last summer after Cleveland released him following two seasons in the Browns’ secondary.
The Arizona Cardinals, looking for help in the secondary, signed Williams at the start of training camp on July 30. Although Williams made the Cardinals’ 53-man roster, he was a healthy scratch for three games and didn’t see significant action until Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Williams, who turned 35 last week, started nine of the final 10 games for the Cardinals opposite All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. He registered 40 tackles during that stretch with 12 passes defensed and two interceptions.
2. Williams came out of nowhere
Williams comes from humble football beginnings. He initially enrolled at Louisiana Tech as a non-athlete in pursuit of a degree in electrical engineering, but attended a football game during his first semester on campus and was motivated to try out as a walk-on the following spring.
He finished with 91 tackles (51 solo), five stops for a loss, one forced fumble and seven interceptions among 32 passes defensed in 23 games. Williams earned two degrees in the process, one in sociology and the other in computer information systems.
Williams signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2006, but failed to make the final roster. He spent the final five games of the season on the Packers’ practice squad before making the team coming out of training camp in 2007.
3. Williams was at his best during the Packers’ Super Bowl run
Williams was part of a Packers’ defense that helped pave the way to Green Bay’s path back to the Super Bowl during the 2010 season.
He recorded then-career highs in tackles (63) and passes defensed (23) and a career-best six interceptions, leading the team in both INTs and passes defensed during the 2010 regular-season.
Williams ramped up his game in the playoffs, picking off Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick in the end zone to seal a 21-16 win over the Eagles in the NFC Wild Card round.
The following week, Williams snagged two more interceptions off Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, returning one for a 70-yard touchdown, in the Packers’ 48-21 romp of the Falcons.
His three picks tied the franchise single-postseason record, while his nine combined interceptions on the season was the most in the NFL in 2010.
4. Williams provides versatility, leadership
Williams played both boundary and slot cornerback throughout his first stint with the Packers. He set new career highs in tackles (91), solo tackles (68) and sacks (2½) after seeing action at both spots in 2013.
Williams also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to a young cornerbacks room touting former second-round picks Kevin King (2017) and Quinten Rollins (2015).
The secondary will look different in 2018 considering the Packers finished the 2017 season with House and Damarious Randall playing boundary cornerback, and safety Morgan Burnett manning the “star” slot position.
While eighth-year veteran Davon House currently is a free agent who could be re-signed, the Packers traded Randall to Cleveland earlier this month and saw Burnett sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an unrestricted free agent.
5. Williams has experience in Mike Pettine’s defense
Williams left Green Bay after the 2014 season to sign a three-year contract with the Browns, who were coached at the time by current Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
In his lone seasons in Pettine’s defense, Williams recorded 69 tackles, 10 passes defensed and an interception in 15 starts. Pettine wasn’t retained after the season, ending their brief partnership.