"He Made It. He Said He Would." - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/22/08-Longview

"He Made It. He Said He Would."

Thelma Andrews believes her son Willie was born to play football.

His baby picture says it all. The tiny hand curled around a football with a big smile on his face.

"He said he was going pro," Thelma explained. "He never said if I go pro, he always said, I'm going pro."

It was on a field in Longview where his career began and it was Willie who took his future into his own hands.

"When he was a little league Mustang, he would cry if they didn't let him run all the plays. He really signed himself up for football. I didn't even know he was practicing."

Willie became a Longview Lobo and one of the state's top recruits. In football and track he earned more medals than his neck would allow him to wear.

"When he was in high school, he got an award for the most valuable offensive player," Thelma said. "When the coach presented it, he said, 'This award goes to a young man we'll be seeing on Saturday's on TV and probably on Sunday's.'"

Those Saturday games were with the Baylor bears. Willie was defensive MVP and All Big XII.

That lead Willie to the Sunday games and the 2006 NFL draft. Willie was picked by the Patriots.

"He made it. He said he would," Thelma smiled.

"I sat and watched the entire draft," Willie's aunt, Wanda Golightly said. "That was so wonderful to me, even though I knew it would happen. I didn't know if he would be one or 701. I knew it was going to be."

"I didn't know too much about the Patriots," Thelma admitted, "and when he got drafted I said, 'Is that a good team?' He said, 'It's a great team.'"

His family says Willie never expressed his excitement about turning pro, although they all knew it was there. They say that is his nature. Even Sunday, when he knew he would play for a Super Bowl, it was the same, laid back Willie.

"He didn't say much. He doesn't say much at all," Thelma said. "He just said, 'Do you want to go to the Super Bowl?'"

 The family will make the trip to Phoenix to watch Willie in Super Bowl XLII. Willie has helped the Patriots to an 18-0 record and they could reach perfection in two weeks.

There's no doubt who this family is picking to win it all.

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