Packers add third running back with Dexter Williams — and his mom — in sixth round of NFL draft
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Packers add third running back with Dexter Williams — and his mom — in sixth round of NFL draft

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Dexter Williams - Notre Dame

The Green Bay Packers selected Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams with their second sixth-round pick (No. 194 overall) in the 2019 NFL draft Saturday. 

GREEN BAY — Dexter Williams and his mother, Cheryl, will be a package deal for the Green Bay Packers.

When the Packers took Williams, a running back from Notre Dame, with the second of their two sixth-round picks (No. 194) on Saturday, it meant that they’ll also be getting his mom, who came to live with him in South Bend, Ind., after her son served a four-game suspension early last season. Williams said his mother is “definitely living with me up there in Green Bay” once he joins the team.

“She’s my guardian angel,” Williams said during a conference call with Wisconsin reporters after the pick. “She’s my support. I just want to share these times with (her) as much as I can.”

The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Williams, who turned 22 in January, finished his senior season with 995 yards on 158 attempts (6.3-yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns while playing just nine games. He will have a chance to be the Packers’ third running back — with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams — and might be a good fit for new coach Matt LaFleur’s outside zone running scheme.

“I can see myself in that offense already,” Williams said.

In 2006, Cheryl was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an incurable autoimmune disease that affects the muscles and the nerves, causing muscle weakness that can become severe enough to interfere with breathing and swallowing. Last spring, she was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, and doctors gave her three to five years to live.

“She was pronounced dead when I was in high school,” Williams said. “To have her here for this moment (of being drafted), this was something she wanted to see her son do.”

Asked about his suspension and an arrest earlier in his Notre Dame career, Williams said his mother’s influence helped him turn himself around.

“I had something to prove to her,” Williams said. “I’m not the same guy I was then, and I don’t plan on turning back at all now that I have this opportunity.”

Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9-11 on “Wilde & Tausch” on your local ESPN station.

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