There was already a pretty good chance that the final stop in Kevin Williams' football career was going to be in northeast Ohio.
As an 11-year Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle, Williams fit in nicely with the franchise's identity for producing Hall of Fame defensive linemen.
Two of the famed Purple People Eaters -- Alan Page and Carl Eller -- are enshrined in Canton and a third one, Jim Marshall, probably should be. The 1980s and '90s generated two more HOF Purple pass rushers in Chris Doleman and John Randle, while the current generation has produced three resumes that will be looking for the stamp of approval in the coming years, Jared Allen, Pat Williams and Kevin himself.
Williams, an Oklahoma State product taken with the ninth overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, was the best three-technique in football for years while in Minneapolis, amassing six-time Pro Bowl berths and five All-Pro nods with the Vikings.
The 6-foot-5, 321-pound Arkansas native is the epitome of "country strong," a living, breathing definition of functional football strength, and the kind of guy who always put even the best interior offensive linemen on skates.
At 34 though Williams is no longer the star and clearly a player who has lost some of the first-step quickness that defined him as a Viking.
And Williams is far closer to the end of his career than the beginning, a reality that prompted him to leave the only professional existence he had ever known, the rebuilding Vikings, in an attempt to check the last box for admittance to Canton, a Super Bowl championship.
While shopping for a new home, Williams was looking for two things, a team with the talent to win it all and a proven, battle-tested quarterback to get them there.
Interestingly, the two clubs at the top of his wish list are the combatants in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots,
Williams, of course, signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal with the Seahawks back in June of 2014 and is scheduled to be the team's starting nose tackle in the big game.
"It's awesome, man," Williams said on Monday. "I'm still kind of in a little disbelief, how we got it done and how the (the NFC Championship Game) unfolded. Now I'm back to concentrating on let's get this other win now."
Williams was brought in as a rotational player on Seattle's front in an effort to increase his effectiveness after a decade-plus of piling up major repetitions for the Vikings.
The thought was that the lighter workload would enable the aging star to maximum his production, understanding he could leave it all out on the field for 25 or 30 plays a game.
The plan was working well as Williams was solid if unspectacular while averaging 26.7 reps a game through his first nine contests with the Seahawks with a high of 41 against Dallas in Week 6.
Things changed from there, however, as Williams was forced to take over the nose tackle position when run-stuffer Brandon Mebane was lost for the season with a hamstring injury.
In his later years in Minnesota many thought a move to the nose was the way to go for Williams but the veteran always resisted it despite an impressive 2 1/2 sack cameo at the position in 2013.
In Seattle, where Williams had no history as a great under tackle, he has embraced his new role and taken over for Mebane as the starter since Week 11.
The workload has increased a bit, especially over the past month as the stakes have gotten bigger and for the most part Williams has come through, most recently contributing four tackles, including one for loss, in the Seahawks' overtime win over his old rivals with the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, in the NFC Championship Game.
"It's kind of unique how things happened," Williams said. "You come in to help contribute wherever you can, you lose one of your starting players to injury and you're moving to the nose. I'm just trying to do whatever I'm called upon to do and make plays."
When one's professional mortality approaches, many players undergo the same metamorphosis Williams has. It's no longer about money or personal accolades, it's about the ring.
And holding the Lombardi Trophy is the only reason Williams uprooted himself and landed in Seattle for one last run at the game's ultimate prize.
"You play a long time, you get the contracts, you make All-Pros and all that stuff," he said. "But you want to play in a Super Bowl. And to be able to do that with this great group of guys, it's tremendous."