Why Tramon Williams can make NFL history playing for both Packers, Ravens in 2021 playoffs

Written By Billy Heyen
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(Getty Images)

Tramon Williams can make history by playing even a single snap for the Packers in Sunday's NFC championship game.

The veteran cornerback is set to become the first player in NFL history to play for two teams in the same postseason. Williams already suited up for the Ravens in Baltimore's season-ending loss to the Bills in last week's divisional round, recording three tackles in defeat. Green Bay promoted Williams to its active roster Saturday after signing him earlier in the week, paving the way for him to suit up against the Buccaneers with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

Williams, who previously spent 10 years playing for the Packers from 2007-2014 and 2018-19, gets a chance at this unprecedented opportunity for two reasons. First, the Ravens waived Williams after their season-ending loss, something teams usually wait until the conclusion of the postseason to do. And second, the 2020 season's COVID-19 rules allow for more practice squad flexibility, which allowed Williams to come on board.

"It's special," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters earlier this week. "He's one of those teammates you just love playing with over the years. He's such a professional. The way he takes care of himself, he looks amazing. He looks like he could go out and play 70 plays for us. I'm not sure if he's going to or not, I hope he does, because he's still so talented. But he's one of those special guys, special personalities."

Here's more about why Williams is likely to be a history maker Sunday.

Why can Tramon Williams play for the Packers, Ravens in playoffs?

The possibility of Williams playing for the Packers in the NFC Championship was set into motion by the Ravens' unusual move after their season-ending loss to Buffalo on Jan. 16. Normally, teams wait to waive veteran players until after the Super Bowl. But Baltimore chose to waive four veterans, including Williams and still-unsigned running back Mark Ingram, on Monday, Jan. 18. While it's not immediately clear what the Ravens' motivation was for the move, it could garner good favor for future veterans choosing who to sign with in free agency.

Once Williams cleared waivers, the Packers could add him to their practice squad. In a regular season, a veteran such as Williams couldn't be placed on a practice squad, but COVID-19 rules allow for up to four veterans on the 16-man practice squad. So Green Bay brought Williams in as insurance in the secondary.

COVID-19 rules then allowed for Williams to be placed on the active roster. Practice squad players can be promoted as COVID-19 replacements. Green Bay offensive lineman Jared Veldheer, who shaped up to make this exact history after suiting up for the Colts in a wild card game, is on the COVID-19/reserve list. Williams has been promoted in part to take Veldheer's expected place on the active roster. 

Williams could see ample playing time against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, too, because Green Bay cornerback Kevin King is questionable and didn't practice Friday because of a back injury. Williams played 12 snaps a week ago for Baltimore.

It could also be a good omen that Williams is back in Packers colors. The lone Super Bowl won by Aaron Rodgers came in 2010 when Williams was on the roster. Williams is back just in time for two wins to mean another ring for Green Bay.

Tramon Williams' Packers stats

Prior to the 2021 playoffs, Williams played in two stints for the Packers, first from 2007-2014 and then from 2018-2019. These are his combined regular season stats from his two previous Green Bay tenures:

  • Interceptions: 30
  • Fumbles forced: 6
  • Fumbles recovered: 11
  • Sacks: 4.5
  • Tackles: 559

Williams' biggest moments in his Packers career came following the 2010 regular season in the 2011 playoffs. He picked off three passes in that postseason, including two in the divisional round when he had a pick-six against the Atlanta Falcons. In Green Bay's 31-25 win over Pittsburgh in the 2011 Super Bowl, Williams recorded six tackles, defensed a pass and recovered a fumble.

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