By Connor Zimmerlee
LOS ANGELES — On the cusp of playing in the Super Bowl, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Troy Reeder’s face was beaming with joy for another reason.
As Reeder and his teammate Darious Williams sat through media availability on Friday, answering questions from different reporters, both maintained their pure love of football and all of the opportunities it has afforded them.
Williams describes himself as a fierce competitor who gives everything he does his all. The fourth-year cornerback would be remiss, though, not to tell you how the game he loves has given him the opportunity to do what he loves at the highest level.
“I love to compete more than anything,” Williams said. “Football has given me opportunities I always dreamed of, and to be competing at the highest level, playing the game I love is a dream come true.”
Not only does he credit football with giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the sport he loves, but Williams also acknowledged the friends who have come from playing the game for so long, as he said a lot of his friends growing up came out of football.
“The fact that I have had the opportunity to make so many close and important friends over the years is an opportunity that I try to not take for granted,” Williams said. “All of this coming from the game I love is still a little surreal to me.”
For Reeder, though, the opportunities football has presented him have shown themselves in a different way. Reeder, a third-year linebacker, has been given numerous opportunities to give back to the community stemming from football.
“Football has done so much for me,” Reeder said. “It has given me the platform to be able to give back to the community I came from and the community I live in now.”
That platform for Reeder has given him the opportunity to raise money for the B+ Foundation, an organization founded by the family of Andrew McDonough, a 14-year-old from Reeder’s hometown community of Wilmington, Del., who died of leukemia.
The NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign allows players to decorate their cleats with any charity they see fit and raise money while doing so. Reeder chose to decorate his custom green Adidas cleats with the B+ Foundation logo in white on the side, saying an opportunity like this, to raise money for a cause that affected his home community, likely would not have happened without the game of football.
As the Rams celebrated their victory in Super Bowl LVI, another NFL chapter concluded. For Reeder and Williams this will be the first of what they hope to be several successful seasons in the NFL. One thing is clear, though. Their love for the game of football and the opportunities remains as strong as ever.
Connor Zimmerlee is a sports media specialization graduate student at Medill. You can find him on Twitter at @Connorjz98