How does a private man use his celebrity status for social good?
How does a professional athlete realize a future as a business professional?
When you put such questions to Madieu Williams, expect him to be guarded. He exerts calm control over his life and his message, without a trace of pride or arrogance. He doesn’t want to dwell, for instance, on how — in just 14 years — he went from escaping a bloody calamity to a pro football contract worth $3.2 million.
Do ask him about the successful wine-tasting fundraiser for his foundation (“Madieu’s Uncorked Connoisseur Night”). Listen to him tell about how 300 kids and a community responded enthusiastically to his free football clinic in the struggling Cincinnati neighborhood of Avondale. Then you’ll see him ease into a welcoming smile.
He’ll relax more if you don’t statistically define him as Cincinnati Bengals free safety Madieu (pronounced Muh-DEE-oo) Williams, age 25, drafted in the second round of the 2004 National Football League draft, the University of Maryland graduate who recovered from a 2005 shoulder injury to be on the field for more snaps in the 2006 season (1,265) than any other Bengal. He’s the one whose web site (www.madieuwilliams.org) features a Bengal roar and the thump of “This Is Why I’m Hot” by MIMS.
This isn’t to suggest Williams isn’t proud to be a Bengal. His work ethic is solid. At his best, he produces game-transforming plays on defense and special teams. He says the upcoming season is promising, so long as the team can remain healthy.
As he prepared for the grinding heat and hitting of summer training camp, Williams consented to an exclusive interview with Cincy Business on one condition: This story focuses on his future as a business professional.
 
 

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