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How Thomas Williams spent his summer

Posted by Albert Breer  July 29, 2010 03:25 PM

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A few weeks back, I did a story on the rise of MMA training in the NFL, and talked to some of the leaders of the movement, including MMAthletics founders Randy Couture and Jay Glazer. And so as we talked about player they had trained, I asked if they were working with any Patriots.

Just one ... Reserve LB/FB Thomas Williams. Packers phenom Clay Matthews (who was in the above-linked story as well), an ex-USC teammate of Williams', mentioned it as well, so I figured I'd go and ask him here on Day 1 of camp.

Turns out, it was another Trojan, Brian Cushing, who turned Williams on to the idea.
And as for where Williams think it'll help ...

"Everywhere, the whole thing. I do feel different, but it’s the first day," Williams said. "When you’re tired, it gets to the end of training camp with your mindset and the fatigue. That’s where this type of training would play a major role."

This is Williams' first time through, so he really couldn't be too specific about the benefits of doing the combat type of training, but he did say that, "First and foremost, it’s just good to be with the rest of the guys that I’ve been with – Brian Cushing, Keith Rivers, Clay Matthews. Just to be with those guys is good, and it’s just good conditioning. It’s not so much pounding, it’s a different type of training."

Williams' will be one of the intriguing stories of this camp, with most of his reps coming at fullback in the first session, and not the position he entered the league at (linebacker). Williams did play fullback some at USC, and even became the Trojans' primary option at the position late in 2006 as a junior. So this isn't totally foreign territory, but he knows he's got a ways to go.

"Right now, who knows?" Williams said. "Today was the first day, so I don’t even know if I’m playing it (full-time). I’ve got a lot of work to do for it, so I’m gonna go in here and watch this film, break it down and move forward."

Could he make the team? Well, the more a player can do, the better chance he has, and the club isn't carrying a true fullback right now so ... Stay tuned.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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