NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Had Brian Stewart not taken a job with the Houston Texans in 2002, this would be a slightly different story.
But Nebraska’s defensive backs coach did join the NFL team. Which means instead of this being a reunion story between Stewart and new cornerbacks coach Donte Williams, it’s really a story about fate finally aligning.
The story goes like this.
The defensive backs coach at Syracuse in 2001, Stewart had a hand in recruiting Williams, a junior college transfer from Los Angeles.
But before Williams enrolled and Stewart got the chance to coach the 6-foot-1, 171-pound Pasadena Community College transfer, Stewart was offered his first coaching gig in the NFL.
Stewart couldn’t turn it down. And he and Williams barely missed each other in New York.
Since then, Stewart said the two have kept in touch. When Williams graduated from Syracuse in 2006 and landed a job as the cornerbacks coach at San Jose State in 2013, Stewart, then at Maryland, invited him to check out the Terrapins’ practice when he was in town.
“Us California guys, we kind of keep tabs on each other,” Stewart said.
Fast forward a few years, and Stewart said he has had no reservations giving up his cornerbacks job to Williams. Stewart will coach the safeties, and the “young gun” will take his old position.
Williams is just kind of watching for now, Stewart said. He’ll take over the position fully after the bowl game.
But Williams has already connected with corners Josh Kalu and Chris Jones, and Stewart is optimistic for the future.
He’ll coach next to Williams, instead of coaching Williams. Either way, he’s OK with it.
“I always admired his work, and I’m excited to be around him,” Stewart said.