METAIRIE, La. -- Marcus Williams vowed that he "won't let one play define the type of MAN or PLAYER that I am or will be!" as he thanked his supporters Monday via Twitter, a day after his missed tackle gave the Minnesota Vikings a 29-24 victory in the NFC divisional round.
I appreciate my friends, real fans, family, and team for everything they have done for me this season all of the support is highly appreciated!No the season didn't end as planned but one thing for sure I won't let one play define the type of MAN or PLAYER that I am or will be!💯
— Marcus Williams (@Babymagik32) January 15, 2018
The New Orleans Saints rookie safety has been a magnet for both cruel criticism and overwhelming support on social media after he missed the tackle that allowed Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs to score on a historic 61-yard, walk-off touchdown catch in Sunday's loss.
While there was no shortage of Bill Buckner references, there were also heartfelt responses from people like Saints legend Steve Gleason, as well as at least one fan who greeted him with a sign at the airport when the Saints returned home, and two children who brought a personalized note to the Saints' practice facility.
Marcus Williams had a spectacular rookie season, and could have a stellar career. He was trying to make the right decision and not interfere. As a competitor, I'm sure he's crushed. I invite Nola to be encouraging and supportive as well as we move on.
— Steve Gleason (@TeamGleason) January 15, 2018
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 15, 2018
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker6) January 15, 2018
Williams was hard on himself after the defeat Sunday, when he vowed "to never let that happen again. And, I mean, if it happens again, then I shouldn't be playing."
But teammates and coach Sean Payton showered him with support, stressing he was hardly the only one to blame and that they believe in the 21-year-old second-round pick out of Utah, who had five interceptions while starting 17 games in the regular season and playoffs.
"I'm just excited for the kid," Saints linebacker Manti Te'o said. "He's going to come back and get better. He's already ahead of his time as far as how to play safety, and now you add a lot of motivation to that. The sky is the limit for him. I'm glad he's my safety."