'Destined' for police work: Ex-NFL player graduates from NYPD academy

After three years in the NFL, Dominique Williams returned to his dream: a career in criminal justice


By Thomas Tracy and Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News

NEW  YORK — He traded in his helmet for a shield.

Former NFL player Dominique Williams will soon suit up for the NYPD now that he has graduated from the police academy, officials said.

Dominque Williams was a standout at Washington State University before he was signed by the San Diego Chargers.
Dominque Williams was a standout at Washington State University before he was signed by the San Diego Chargers. (Photo/Dominque Williams Facebook page)

Being part of the police department was always Williams’ goal. He just joined the roster a little sooner than he planned.

“It’s a lot of structure, and I’ve been doing that structure discipline thing my whole life in sports,” Williams said in an interview posted to the NYPD’s Instagram account. “You have that structure to understand and help and guide you to be a better police officer.”

Williams, 29, was a standout at Washington State University, where he majored in criminal justice, before he was signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2016.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver failed to make the team’s 53-man roster, and spent the first year of his NFL career playing on the practice squad.

A year later he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles — but an injury to his Achilles tendon kept him on the sidelines.

The Eagles released Williams from the team the following year, when the Detroit Lions signed him. Ultimately, he didn’t make the final roster.

But like any skilled scorer, Williams had a backup plan.

Former NFL player Dominique Williams will soon suit up for the NYPD now that he has graduated from the police academy.
Former NFL player Dominique Williams will soon suit up for the NYPD now that he has graduated from the police academy. (Photo/Dominique Williams Facebook page)

Williams has aspired to be a cop for as long as he can remember.

The seed was planted in his hometown of Pomona, Calif., where his oldest brother was murdered in front of their home. That was his introduction to police, and showed him the difference cops can make in a community.

“I’ve seen the way police came in and basically took me under their wing and made sure I was OK,” Williams said in the interview posted on Instagram. “At the time I was playing sports so they went to multiple of my games.”

“I felt that support and love,” Williams said. “I realized the first thing kids interact with are police officers.”

Williams was one of 561 NYPD recruits who graduated to the rank of officer at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

[Read more about NYPD officers: Longest living retired NYPD cop, 99, gets surprise from local officers]

©2022 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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