This is the time of year for young football heroes’ dreams to get moved temporarily to the back burner as they rest up and maintain their conditioning for the all-important run at training camp and a roster spot.
It is also that part of the calendar when some dreams get moved off the stove for a while.
The Jets, for instance, announced today some cuts after last week’s full-squad minicamp. One of the releases was of former Pitt defensive tackle Mick Williams.
I spent some time with Mick last week and he was an eager guy with a great laugh coming off a productive career for the Panthers — in fact, he was the Big East’s co-Defensive Player of the Year. The undrafted free agent was playing nose tackle with the Jets and he acknowledged some obstacles, such as needing to beef up his 6’0", 281-pound frame, but he was not fazed by the NFL landscape.
"I’m pretty much just working my butt off trying to make this team," he said. "Every day I’m trying to progress. How we played the 4-3 at Pitt, we were used to getting off at the snap. Here you’ve got to play laterally more, so that’s a big transition for me, that’s the hardest part. I’m still learning it."
But he did get to practice at New Jets Stadium with veteran noses Kris Jenkins and Sione Pouha and the rest of the team and he talked as if he planned to fit in.
"They want to make this a historic defense," Mick said. "And I’m trying to become a part of this historic defense that we’re going to have this year."
Those plans have been put on hold for Mick, who prefers that nickname over Ernest because that was the nickname his father, who died when he was 6, was always known as in Monessen, Pa., one of the many football hotbeds around Pittsburgh.
You never know what will happen next. Williams could latch on with an NFL team playing a version of the 4-3 he was familiar with under former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt at Pitt and earn himself his pro shot that way. The Jets could also call again this summer or during the season if the situation arises. Perhaps the CFL will take notice. Whatever’s ahead, Mick, best of luck and skill.
Also released along with Williams were Brannon Condren, who lost time to an injury and thus ground in the crowded safety field, and Jared Ballman, a placekicker who was on the roster for one week.
Two Jets on Sporting News List
The newest issue of Sporting News Magazine is on the stands now and gracing its mostly green cover are two of the Jets’ young guns who are planning to guide the Green & White to great heights this season: QB Mark Sanchez and CB Darrelle Revis.
The SN theme is "25 UNDER 25," a celebration of the "best of the next generation of sports stars." And the Jets-flavored cover is due to the fact that Revis (No. 9 in the mag’s rankings) and Sanchez (No. 16) represent the only team in the feature with two such stars.
Overall, a nice presentation and one more example of the respect the Jets are getting this offseason. But as we all know, respect in the regular season and playoffs is much more preferable, so the work has only just begun.
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