Bryce Williams of the NFL's L.A. Rams speaks at the 19th annual SportWorks Ministry Banquet in Greenville Thursday. (Photo by 252Buzz)
NFL tight end Bryce Williams said Thursday that he is sure that the Lord will be with him wherever he ends up in life.
Williams was one of several speakers who shared a personal story of Christian faith Thursday at a dinner in Greenville to support SportWorks, a nonprofit ministry for East Carolina University coaches and athletes.
Williams participated in SportWorks' Bible studies, devotionals and home-cooked meals when he attended ECU. The Lexington, N.C., native walked onto the football team and his hard work and dedication earned him an athletic scholarship, selection to First Team All-American Athletic Conference, a place on the John Mackey Award Watch List for the most outstanding collegiate tight end and an invitation to the Senior Bowl.
At the fund-raising dinner at the Hilton-Greenville, Williams recounted the challenges he faced and overcame as he worked to accomplish his goals of playing football in college and then in the National Football League. Originally signed as a free agent by the New England Patriots, the North Carolina native said he found himself "out of his element" in Foxborough, Mass. Now, he said, he has ended up even further away from home, in Los Angeles with the NFL's Rams.
"God had me right where he wanted me to be," he said, pausing several times during his speech to keep his emotions in check.
A Bible verse his mother gave him before he left for college has accompanied him every step of the way, Williams said. "It's Joshua 1:9, 'Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,'” he recited.
Williams donated an autographed Los Angeles Rams' jersey, which was raffled to raise funds for SportWorks.
SportWorks was founded 19 years ago by Chuck Young as a ministry resource to ECU coaches and athletes.
"I see them as my mission field," he said.
Young said that, through SportWorks, he and his wife Lisa provide home-cooked dinners and group Bible study at their Greenville home weekly: for track athletes on Mondays, baseball players on Tuesdays and football players on Wednesdays. Bible study for coaches and team devotionals also are offered.
The campus ministry is not supported by ECU. Operating funds are raised locally and overseen by an administrative board.
Other speakers at the dinner were ECU Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery, ECU Baseball Director of Operations Tyler Zupcic and current ECU football player Malik Gray.