FARGO — It's a waiting game right now for former North Dakota State cornerback Marcus Williams. A free agent, he's hoping another NFL team will call his cell phone and give him a shot for his sixth season in the league.
But, in case nothing happens, the future is now. Williams is the new owner of the Breakfast Bar of Minnesota, an establishment he bought in downtown Minneapolis.
"I'm not going to play forever, we all know that," Williams said. "So I need some things to work on while I still have some money to help in the future."
Williams spent last NFL season with Tampa Bay and Chicago, playing in a total of five games. His best year was in 2015 with the New York Jets when he had six interceptions, 10 pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
That was in his second season after helping the Bison to three straight Division I FCS national titles from 2011-13. Patrons may see some NDSU flavor in the Breakfast Bar of Minnesota, especially when the Bison play Butler in the season opener Aug. 31 at Target Field.
The address, 319 North First Avenue, is just over three blocks from the stadium.
"We'll have some Bison specials," Williams said.
And not just during the Butler game, either. The plan is to make it a regular stop for Twin Cities NDSU football fans every Saturday during the season.
The restaurant has six large televisions with another six in the bar area. Although the menu carries an emphasis on breakfast, it offers lunch and dinner entrees as well.
Williams acquired the property when the previous owner asked him if he was interested in buying it.
"At first it caught me by surprise because I don't know much about the food business," Williams said. "I was just playing football."
But the more Williams looked into it, the more he warmed to the idea. He talked to his father, Jeff Williams. He sought the advice of one of his father's best friends, who is in the restaurant business.
"We came together, the numbers made sense and went with it," Marcus Williams said.
So on July 2, the deal was done and Williams opened his establishment.
"Since then we've been off and running and everything has gone pretty well," he said. "It's definitely exciting, just being able to call yourself an owner. But it has its down part. It's a lot of work, probably on the line of not knowing what you got yourself into. It's probably like any business is when you're starting. We're learning a lot of things but so far, so good."
All the while, Williams has been training nearly every day at The Base Sports Performance in Maple Grove, Minn., or TNT Academy in Edina, Minn.
He went through the same uncertainty at this time last year until the Buccaneers signed him.
"Last year was a little tough, but I've learned how to handle it better," Williams said. "I'm making sure I'm taking care of what I need to take care of on my side by working out and eating right. I'm staying in shape so when my phone number is called I'm ready to go out there."
If not, the Breakfast Bar of Minnesota will see its owner around more. Asked if he plans on displaying any of his memorabilia, Williams shied away from the answer. For the most part, he wants it to be more about the namesake — Minnesota.
With a little twist of Bison on Saturdays.
"I'll probably put up some Bison stuff, but it will be Minnesota-oriented," he said.