Ravens Wil­liams ‘just wor­ried about foot­ball’

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— Bran­don Wil­liams made the most of the op­por­tu­nity he was given last sea­son.

When five-time Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata left the Ravens for a mega con­tract with the Detroit Li­ons fol­low­ing the 2014 sea­son, a mas­sive hole ap­peared to be left in the mid­dle of Bal­ti­more’s de­fen­sive line. In­stead, there was hardly a let­down thanks to Wil­liams.

The de­fen­sive tackle recored 53 tack­les, ex­actly half of his three-year ca­reer to­tal, and a pair of sacks. Wil­liams is en­ter­ing the fi­nal year of his rookie con­tract, and his per­for­mance last sea­son sug­gests he could be in line for a big-time con­tract – in Bal­ti­more or else­where.

Wil­liams did not say whether he has been in talks with the Ravens about a con-

OWINGS MILLS

tract ex­ten­sion on Fri­day fol­low­ing the team’s sec­ond train­ing camp prac­tice.

“I’m just wor­ried about foot­ball,” he said. “They can worry about what­ever they need to worry about, but that is above my pay grade. I’m just go­ing to do what I need to do on the field.”

De­spite hav­ing a break­out year, Wil­liams re­ceived lit­tle recog­ni­tion as one of the top de­fen­sive tack­les in the NFL. Bal­ti­more’s 340-pound run stop­per was re­cently named the most un­der­rated player in the league by CBS Sports Pete Prisco.

“It re­ally doesn’t mean much. It is what it is. I’ve just got to do my job on the field and do what­ever to get it done. I’m not re­ally wor­ried about what the me­dia says; it is more about what I do on the field,” Wil­liams said. “You want to be a highly-rated guy, but my big­gest thing is go­ing out on the field, giv­ing my team­mates ev­ery­thing I’ve got, and what­ever hap­pens at the end of the sea­son, hap­pens at the end of the sea­son. As long as I know at the end of ev­ery prac­tice and ev­ery game that I’ve given my all, that is all that my mat­ters.”

Wil­liams – a Divi­sion II Mis­souri South­ern prod­uct – some­how missed out on the Pro Bowl last sea­son. Though he has big­ger goals for 2016, he hopes to earn his first trip in his fourth NFL sea­son.

“If it’s not, you would be crazy,” he said when asked if a Pro Bowl in­vite is a goal of his. “You have to want that for your­self, but the big­gest thing is win­ning games. Be­ing a team player, win­ning games and com­ing to­gether with your team­mates, that is the big­gest thing.”

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Ravens de­fen­sive tackle Bran­don Wil­liams works Thurs­day dur­ing Bal­ti­more’s first prac­tice of train­ing camp.

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