Former Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson has established himself as one of the key players on the Tennessee Titan defense, but this offseason, he is focused on a completely new aspect of his life.
Williamson arrived in Israel last Tuesday for a week-long tour of the country, including other NFL players such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Vic Beasley, Chris Harris Jr., and Josh Norman.
“We actually just left the site where Jesus was hung on the cross, and where he was buried,” Williamson told Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. “We’ve done so much, and I’ve learned so much. It’s been amazing, and very memorable.”
He got to see where Jesus died on the cross and where he was buried, and he then decided to take it one step further by getting baptized in the same water Jesus did.
Williamson and his sister were baptized in the Jordan River, the third most holy site in the Holy Land, according to the Christian faith.
“Now that was really amazing,” Williamson said. “Growing up in church, to be able to relate to it now since I have been here, and to have images of places I’ve been when I read passages in the Bible. I’ve always wanted to come to Israel and this opportunity came up. I always wanted to see the spiritual sites and know more about the Bible. To find out more about the history of the country and get more of an understanding of what is going on, it is pretty cool. I feel like I have a better understanding of the world now.”
This past weekend, Williamson met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and gave him a Titans jersey his name on the back. He also met with local children, signing autographs and talking about football with them.
“(Rivlin) was happy about getting the jersey,” Williamson said. “He was excited to have it. It was cool to meet him, and to meet public figures overseas. And the kids we signed some autographs for, they were excited to meet us. When they heard ‘NFL’, they get super excited. And a lot of the politicians we met with, they knew about the Titans. They said we had a good year. It was pretty cool to know they are watching us overseas.”
Williamson said the country’s rich history makes it easily the best trip he’s ever been on.
“It is crazy to see all of that, and be a part of it,” he said. “It is a magical country, and to know all these miracles happened in this one place, it is pretty amazing. So many centuries of history.”
To read more from Jim Wyatt about Williamson’s entire trip to Israel, head on over here.