Often times, high-profile players NFL players who are in limbo with their contract status and future with their current teams, a lot of times those players hold out of respective training camp, OTA, and mini-camp schedule in a negotiation ploy to get paid and stay where they are.
And when it was announced over the weekend that Ravens corner back Cary Williams-who has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender-would be participating in said activity-many Ravens fans were quick to criticize Williams for not being a team player and trying to hold the team for ransom for a new deal.
Williams, who started opposite Lardarius Webb last year at the corner back position, started 16 games for the Ravens last year and registered 78 tackles and deflected 16 passes.
Despite not having the impressive Pro-Bowl-like numbers his counterpart in Webb had, Williams proved to be a capable cover corner for the Ravens, and proved to be an unsuspected bright spot for a Ravens team that reached the AFC Championship game.
It was also revealed that Williams suffered and played through a hip injury in the late part of the season, and joining Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” this week, he said that was why he would not be attending team workouts.
Williams said Coach John Harbaugh and the coaching staff signed off on his absence, and told him to stay away and get on the mend.
“I’m out rehabbing in Tennessee, and I’ve been doing it the last couple of weeks and months since I had the surgery in February,” Williams told Clark. “I’m just trying to stay on that.”
Much like a school kid with perfect attendance, Williams had to be told no.
“Yeah, in the past when we had OTA’s there were times when I didn’t miss a day, so it’s just the fact that the doctors, Coach Harbaugh, and the Ravens organization said it was okay for me to miss out,” Williams added. “Me and Harbaugh had a conversation…so we’re all on the same page. There’s no reason for anyone to be pointed at as good or bad. In this instance, it’s just a guy rehabbing and getting it together for the season.”
In a week where Webb, who has the same agent as Williams, received a six year, 52 million dollar contract, it was hard for Williams to sit back and watch.
Williams said he couldn’t have been more happy for his teammate.
“When I first heard Lardarius got his contract I was belated, I was happy for him,” Williams said. “Lardarius is like a little brother to me. We talk all the time and we have great conversations.”
“For Lardarius to get that…to see all the hard work he put in pay off and then he gets that huge payday, I’m belated for him. I’m happy for him that he reached that part in his career to be known as one of the top defensive backs in the league.”
But at the same time, Williams feels like he’s at that level as well and deserving to be rewarded for his contributions.
“I feel like I’m in the same boat,” Williams said. “Once I’m doing my job and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be, I hope I get rewarded. “Whatever the team deems that’s best for me.”
Williams says a new deal wouldn’t change his approach from selfless and humble beginnings all the way from little Washburn College to the NFL.
“I’m going to continue to work hard, take it one day at a time, and just continue to strive to get better.”
“I definitely want the long-term contract. I think that’s a great deal and it’s something that I wouldn’t take for granted either. I wouldn’t allow the money or however much money I would get change who I am, what type of play I bring on the field on Sundays, Mondays or Thursday nights-whenever we play.”
Williams said this sort of things happens all over the place in the NFL. It’s ugly, but it’s how the league runs unfortunately.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s just a process and at the end of the day, I still have one more year left on my contract, I know we have other guys out there trying to get deals done and I just don’t want to be a distraction, I don’t want that to be a huge issue.”
His primary focus is getting healthy; then proving he’s back at full potential so he can then prioritize on football and getting rewarded for his accomplishments.
“I’m just trying nurse my injury and do the best I can each and every day and to me, the contract talks will come up, I mean that’s just a part of the business,” Williams replied.
Williams reminded Clark that it’s almost impossible for him to be a distraction just because of his quiet, introverted nature-minus his play on the field of course.
“I’m not really the vocal type dude. I like to lead by example rather than showing, using my mouth or whatever. I’ve never been a talker in my life unless someone was talking to me. Then it’s junk talking.”
“I just always wanted to lead by example. I feel like actions speak louder than words and when I come back I definitely want to show those guys that I can be a leader, and I just rather show it than tell it.”
And Williams said he fits in with a tight-knit group in the Ravens secondary who understand the same things about “playing like a Raven”, especially he and Webb.
“I think that together as a unit we understand we’ll become more cohesive, we’ll become more of a tandem. It’s not just me and Webby, we got other guys like Jimmy Smith, we got Danny Gorrer, those guys that have been in the system for a year playing and showing that they can contribute and make plays on Sundays.”
“We feel as a collective group, with one year under our belt…next year the sky will basically be the limit. We really believe we have what’s there to get to a championship and our secondary.”
WNST thanks Cary Williams for joining Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check”! If you missed the interview, check the entire interview out at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!