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Phillies outfielder Nick Williams believes he could have played in NFL if not drafted by Rangers

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Williams — who left Monday's 6-5 thrilling series opener win against the St. Louis Cardinals early after breaking his nose due to a line drive that ricocheted off the right field wall — was featured Tuesday afternoon on NBC Sports Philadelphia's new Carpool Karaoke-inspired series with Michael Barkann, "The Pick Up." 

Barkann and Williams discussed the 24-year-old's passion for the popularized battle royale game, Fortnite, as well as his childhood friend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl wide receiver, Mike Evans.

"He's one of my good friends. We grew up together," Williams said of Evans, who attended Texas A&M for two seasons before being drafted seventh overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. "His mom was actually our daycare teacher. ... When we were in daycare, we used to fight all the time."

The Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman describes Evans and Williams' childhood bond:

Growing up in Galveston, Texas, the two starred together at Ball High School, playing basketball and football together, dangerous as forwards and receivers.

"He's a freak athlete," Evans said of Williams, who is a lanky 6 feet 3 and 195 pounds. "He's a beast. I know him and his family real well, real good friends. I'm just so proud of him."

Williams and Evans — now 6 feet 5 and 231 pounds — found their success on simultaneous timelines, each taking major steps at different stages. Evans graduated from Ball in summer 2011, a year ahead of Williams, but redshirted his first year at Texas A&M.

Williams said he and Evans' friendship grew stronger when he left for Texas A&M.

"I was committed there [too], and he wanted me to go play football and baseball there," Williams told Barkann. "That's what I wanted to do and was going to do, but I ended up getting drafted."

Williams was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the second round of the 2012 amateur draft out of Ball High School, located in his native city of Galveston, Texas. He earned a $500,000 signing bonus upon inking his first professional contract with the Rangers. Williams said if he did go to college, he would have "ended up playing football" over baseball.

"I don't know how I would have liked playing two sports in college," he said.

The Phillies acquired Williams on July 31, 2015  along with Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Matt Harrison and Jake Thompson — in exchange for Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and cash. Through 147 career big-league games since his debut on June 30, 2017, Williams is slashing .268/.326/.459 with 20 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs, 32 walks and 76 RBI.

Williams agreed when Barkann noted he "could have probably ended up playing in the NFL," had he played college football at Texas A&M. "I think so, I believe I could have, for sure," Williams said.

"But that dream is over, right?" Barkann joked.

"For now," said Williams.


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