Still Looking Out for Her Nephew

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The woman called her nephew excitedly at about 4 p.m. Saturday, informing him the news conference to announce the 53-man roster was scheduled for 6 p.m. Being on pins and needles about whether he would make the final cut for the Washington Redskins, Edwin Williams knew this of course.

What he didn't know was from where Camille Pierce, his aunt and sometimes surrogate mother, was calling -- and why she knew so much.

"I'm at Redskins Park," she said.

"What?" Edwin said, stunned. "You're at Redskins Park? What are you doing there?"

Camille Pierce laughs now and explains.

It's like when the little boy the family called "Ham" needed to be picked up from school, before he grew into a 6-foot-3, 300-pound-plus star at DeMatha High School and later the University of Maryland. Before Edwin Williams wound up as an undrafted rookie free agent this summer in Ashburn, a long shot to make the team -- back when he was a child in need.

When Camille was working late, she recalled, she had her friend, a police officer, pick up Edwin and his sister Danielle in a squad car. She didn't care if her nephew was embarrassed about his ride; she wanted to make sure he got home safe, that support was there.

That's why she telephoned The Post's Sports department on Saturday and politely asked where the news conference was and could she please have directions to Ashburn, as if Edwin Williams was 10, trying to get a part in a school play. Or make his Pop Warner roster.

Really, what relative of an undrafted long shot is brave enough to show up to an NFL team's training facility without the player or team's knowledge -- on cut-down day?

"I know, I just can't stop treatin' him like a baby," Camille said. "I wanted to see it happen for him. And if it didn't happen I wanted to make sure I was there to for him, to show him no matter what I'm there for him."

Edwin Williams needed people there for him, especially as a child.

He and Danielle were the products of cocaine-addicted parents, both of whom learned that staying clean in recovery was much more of an odyssey than their son one day trying to make an NFL roster.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company