Despite Injury, Mike Williams Still Determined
I bumped into Big Mike Williams on Friday at the practice facility while he was headed to receive treatment for the abdominal strain he re-aggravated in Thursday's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
We chatted for a few seconds as he entered the main building and I exited after my in-studio appearance on Vinny Cerrato's radio show. As usual, Williams was smiling.
In recalling that conversation and other exchanges I've had with Williams, I can't remember when I haven't seen Williams smiling and upbeat. Even when we had our recent talk about some things I've written about him that he did not appreciate, Williams had a good-natured vibe. It is easy to root for Williams, and many people in the organization have been since he signed with the team in April.
As for his performance against the Ravens, he got a chance to "shake some of the cobwebs off," said Williams, who last played in an NFL regular-season game in 2005. "I definitely wanted to get out there."
Williams, who has lost more than 70 pounds since joining the Redskins, had his outing cut short because of the abdominal strain he said he re-aggravated on his first play in the second quarter. When Williams was in the game, I noticed the Redskins rolled help to his side in pass protection.
Although Williams has struggled in pass protection during practice as he tries to regain his footwork and timing, I wasn't sure if the protection calls were just to help Williams or if they were part of Washington's protection rules for some particular defensive front the Ravens were using.
"That's just more of a protection the way we were doing it," Williams said. "It was just more of a rules thing as to how we ID people."
Coach Jim Zorn told me the Redskins would continue to exercise caution with Williams, who needs rest to recover from the abdominal strain. The Redskins were not in full pads this morning and the team was scheduled to focus on special teams this afternoon. I'll be curious to see how many reps Williams gets this week as trainers work to help him recover.
Williams is determined to make the opening 53-man roster, and he said he needs as many reps as possible in practice and preseason games.
"I can still keep getting reps," Williams said. "I trust the training staff, we're going to take care of it, and I can continue to play through it.
"It's just one of those things that made sense to take precautions [with] in the game. The good thing is that it's not any worse, and we're taking steps forward. I just hope it isn't something that lingers on."
The Redskins have invested a lot of time and energy in Williams, who has held up his end with his rapid weight loss and hard work during practice and private sessions with line coach Joe Bugel. This abdominal thing could be a snag in his comeback attempt, but I get the strong impression he will be on the team, at least to open the season, because the front office is committed to giving this a try.
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