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Big Cat: 'I'm in the Best Football Shape of My Life'

After Spending Summer MMA Training, Williams Enters Camp Ready to Lead


Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams told reporters after Saturday's practice that he's in the best football shape of his life.

"I was training over the offseason at an MMA place called Empowered in San Francisco," Williams said. "It definitely got me really in shape. My coach kept telling me there's a difference between being in shape and being in fight shape, and I definitely noticed it."

While the 6'5", 302-pounder isn't climbing into the octagon any time soon, the USC product hopes the training will lead to more victories in the trenches.

"It just helped me on body movement and control," he said. "We touched weights here and there, but we focused on maximizing how we use our bodies. When we're on the field, we don't have weights. We have our bodies and that's what we're really focused on."

Williams led the Jets with 7.0 sacks last year and made his first Pro Bowl appearance. But Big Cat isn't focusing on individual statistics.

"I'm not really focused on self-accolades besides how much I can do for my teammates," he said. "I'm expecting the same thing out of my teammates, too, and how much they can give to the team. I'm really focused on what we can do together because I'm not on the field by myself. There's 10 other people and they help me do my job. I'm going to try to help them do theirs."

Williams is continuing to grow into a leadership role on both the defense and the team as he's entering his third season.

"I feel more comfortable with my teammates and coaches," he said. "I just feel comfortable to be myself and step into my role. My role is being a good teammate, bringing everybody up and making everyone the best they can be. If everyone can be comfortable, then we'll be a good team."

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