"He was always a big boy, biggest in the crowd and always had a big appetite," Maxine Williams said. "We're big-boned people. Bobbie's a real gentle giant, but, out on that field, look out."

Maxine Williams worked as a nurse's aide while his father hauled pulp wood for a logging company, setting an example for the youngest of their five children.

"It was back-breaking work hauling those logs, but it was fun," Williams said. "I didn't think about the dangers. We just put in a hard day's work."

As a freshman at Arkansas, Williams earned the nickname, "Boss man," because of how he roughed up upperclassmen football players.

It stuck, literally, as Williams had his left forearm decorated with his nickname tattooed in large letters.

"I won't be intimidated," Williams said. "One thing I learned a long time ago, is be humble and every man must be respected as a man. Some of the older players was like, 'Damn, you the boss.'

"On the field, the intensity kicks in. You flip the switch. I don't hate my opponent, but I try to dominate him. After the game, you say a prayer for him."

With the exception of last year, Williams hadn't missed a single game since he signed with the Bengals in 2004. Listed first on the depth chart at left guard, Williams wants to prove that he's still a viable presence entering his 13th NFL season.

"He still loves the game, and he's got more football left in him, a lot more," Maxine Williams said. "The Bengals better look out, because Bobbie's still got it."

awilson@baltsun.com

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