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Part 3: Williams, Casserly talk '06 draft


Before last year's NFL Draft, defensive end Mario Williams sat down with former Texans general manager Charley Casserly to discuss their once criticized, now hailed draft experiences when Williams was selected as the No. 1 pick over running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Vince Young.

Below is a transcript from the third segment of this three-part interview.

Charley Casserly: What do you know now that you didn't know two years ago about playing in the National Football League?

Mario Williams: I learned growing up that football was always something that I loved, and still is. When you don't love it any more, it's time to hang it up. But I will always look at it as a sport and a passion, but now it's so political. The Pro Bowl is a perfect example. When I was drafted, it was a perfect example; it was such a big deal. Is it a business? Yes. As a player who only loves football, we all look at it that way until we are in it. Something that I realize is that it is very business-like, like when you drafted me and all the scrutiny that goes along with that. Everybody was saying it was the wrong move - "What were they thinking?" Stuff like that just shows how political it is and how much people will say this or that about it. Then, whenever the Pro Bowl comes this year, it's pretty much the same thing. I think it's politics; I really do. It seems like it's one of those things that's almost like going to prom, like you were selected from the committee. It is so political. I didn't know it was that bad. But I see that you can have a love and passion for the game, but outside of that, outside of the players, it is straight business. It is straight business and it's all about selling tickets or, with going to Pro Bowl, it's who the fans want to see. That's the biggest thing for me, seeing the thing I love to do, in other people's eyes, it's all business. It's two different things.

{QUOTE}Charley Casserly: Because you love to play football, how do you divide those two things to be able to keep yourself focused and motivated and play the best you can be? How do you block that stuff out?

Mario Williams: I think the best thing you can do is focus on the thing that you love, and being that that is football, the best thing is to focus on that - focus on trying to get stronger, faster and bigger, just better for the team and better for yourself. Whatever happens after that, it's out of your hands. When it's things you can't control, you can't do anything about it. That's what I've always been told; that's what I live by. If I can't control it, I'm not going to sit here and dwell on it. I just go out and do what I can do for myself.

Charley Casserly: You were the first pick in the draft. There's always going to be a first pick in the draft. There's going to be one very shortly. If you could take him in a room and say, "Here is what you need to know," or if he says to you, "Tell me what I am walking into," what would you say to him?

Mario Williams: I would tell him to focus on what you have to do, and whatever is said, whether it's positive or negative, don't worry about it. Things from other people outside of your family, outside of your organization have nothing to do with you. Don't let anybody hype you up too much; don't let anybody take you down. Just focus on you and your family. And when I say family, I am talking about your immediate family and the organization. The biggest thing is to do what you have to do to succeed, to help your team get better and that's it. This is your game. This is our game. This is the player's game. This is what we are here for. This is where our passion is. Don't let anybody take it from you by saying this or that. Don't let anybody bring you down, especially when they feel like something isn't right. To you, that's not right. You don't need any of that added pressure and all that other stuff. It's still football. It's still the same game you love to play.

Charley Casserly: A year ago at this time, I asked you what your goal or objective was and you said to get healthy – "If I'm not healthy, I can't play, but if I'm healthy, I can play and I can grow and improve." OK, are you healthy now? Yes, good. Two years are under your belt. Going into year three, what are your goals and objectives going into this season?

Mario Williams: My goals and objectives pretty much are just to get better: stay healthy, get better and try as hard as I can for my team and the people who drafted me. I'm not here to try to prove people wrong for the things that happened when I was drafted. But I am here to show the people that drafted me the reason why they drafted me.

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