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Former Terps hits big payday in NFL free agency

A former Maryland Terrapin was one of the first players to cash in on NFL free agency that opened today. Former Cincinnati Bengal-new Minnesota Viking Madieu Williams, a safety, reportedly landed a $33 million, six-year deal with the Vikes. An estimated $17 million of the contract is reportedly guaranteed. While Williams, 26, is certainly a solid football player, the contract that puts him near the top of heap at his position just illustrates that if a player is better-than-average and the timing is just right, the rewards can be enormous.

Williams is considered a sure tackler but not a big hitter. When healthy, he was among the most productive defenders for Marvin Lewis' Bengals. A thigh injury ended his 2007 season a few weeks early. He finished '07 with two interceptions and seven passes defensed. He has eight career interceptions since being drafted in the second round in 2004.

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Williams, who was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, moved to Maryland as a child and attended Towson before transferring to Maryland where he made the team as a walk-on but soon earned a scholarship.

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