As years pass and players move on to other teams, or just move on with their lives from football altogether, sometimes fans never hear from them again. Unless, of course, they went into broadcasting or something happened to them that winds them up in the news. But for those who disappeared from public view, the question fans always ask themselves: Where are they now?
WR Troy Williamson
This South Carolina product was supposed to be the predecessor to arguably the greatest Viking receiver of all time, Randy Moss. Due to his superb route running and speed, Williamson obtained the nickname “Wide Open” before Minnesota drafted him seventh overall in the 2005. In his three seasons with the Vikings, Williamson caught a total of 79 passes for just over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns. More notably, he tallied 17 drops (including 11 in 2006).
Following the 2007 season the Vikes traded Williamsoin to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick*. In Jacksonville, he played just 10 games in two years before being released and never again signed to another team. Williamson attributed his failure of a career to Brad Childress and even challenged him to a fight while he was with the Jags.
*NOTE: With the 6th round pick Jacksonville traded Minnesota for Williamson, the Vikings selected receiver Jaymar Johnson, who caught his only target as a Viking. That means he never dropped a pass. Does that technically make him an upgrade over Williamson?
Where is he now?
After 2009, Troy moved back to his hometown of Aiken, South Carolina. There, he founded a non-profit organization, Fighting Against the ODDS. It promotes youth exercise, service learning and helps kids who are facing adversity receive opportunities for scholarships. He plans to build a Sports Academy in Aiken in the near future.
Williamson is also the owner of a sandwich shop called Which Wich in Aiken. In a 2013 article with Yahoo! Small Business, Williamson said that he was also looking into getting another Which Wich and even a Smoothie King in the coming years as he has found some success in the business world.
CB Antoine Winfield
In 2004, the Minnesota Vikings made one of their best free agent moves ever when they signed the 5-foot-9 cornerback to a six-year deal. Winfield would play nine seasons with the Vikings. In those nine seasons, he used his ball-hawking and supreme tackling abilities to rack up 729 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, 21 interceptions, 73 passes defended and five touchdowns. It should be noted that when the Vikings released the then-35-year-old, he was coming off the second-best tackling season of his 14-year career. What is more, at that time, Winfield had not allowed a touchdown pass to a player he was defending in over three seasons. His career would end in Seattle when he retired before playing a snap.
Where is he now?
Today, Antoine Winfield resides in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He spends his free time coaching his three sons, Ethan, Austin and Antoine Jr. Antoine Jr. is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota and plays defensive back for the Golden Gophers. In his two seasons at Minnesota, Winfield Jr. has posted in just 16 games 5 passes defended, an interception and 72 total tackles. Antoine Jr. was also named to the 2016 ESPN true freshman All-American team.
Aside from his family life, Winfield has also appeared in a high stakes, televised game, and it is not football. In 2016, Antoine Winfield was one of the 764 players competing in the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
In an interview at the event, Winfield told the Casino City Times “I’ve been competitive all my life, and this is no different. You’re competing against a huge field so it’s hard to make it, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Although Winfield lost on the first day of the $10,000 main event, he did take 231st in the $1500 No-Limit Hold’em event, which won him a total of $2,391.
DT John Randle
John Randle came into the NFL as a 6-foot-1, 287-pound, undrafted defensive tackle in 1990. Deemed too small, his brother’s team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, passed on him after a tryout.. Shortly afterwards, the Vikings signed him due to the recommendation of then-head scout Don Deisch.
Randle brought a certain hyperactivity to the Vikings defense that allowed him to get after the quarterback. In his 14-year career, Randle recorded 137.5 sacks, including nine seasons in which he gathered at least ten. From 1993 to 2000, he posted double digit sacks every year. Both of these are franchise records. With that resume Randle joined the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2008 and walked into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Where is he now?
The former face-painting, trash-talking, hard hitting defensive lineman is now a relaxed, humbled family man, philanthropist, spokesperson, and golfer. That is right, John Randle, the same man who used to practice his pass-rush moves on unsuspecting old ladies in the grocery store, is now a calm and patient living man.
“I’m not a football player anymore. I’m a dad and I’ve got the car seats to prove it.”, said Randle in an interview with The Huntsville Times.