FOXBORO, Mass. — The Cary Williams who spoke with reporters after Tuesday’s New England Patriots-Philadelphia Eagles joint practice sounded like a very different player than the one who had branded the Patriots as “cheaters” just two weeks earlier.
The Eagles cornerback, who also spoke earlier this month about his disdain for joint practices, called the Patriots “class acts” and mentioned multiple times the “respect” he has for quarterback Tom Brady.
“I think it’s tremendous,” Williams said of the ability to take reps against Brady in practice. “Like I said, I got a lot of respect for those guys, especially that guy who wear(s) the No. 12 jersey. He’s a great player. Just from the experience of playing against him, he’s a competitor. He’s going to come out and compete every time he’s between the white lines. It’s great for us to go out there and get that work against a true Hall of Famer and a true testament to hard work.”
These comments came after a session — the first of three the teams will share leading up to Friday’s preseason matchup — that featured a great deal of physicality between wide receivers and defensive backs, including one instance in which Williams appeared to give Kenbrell Thompkins a shove after the Patriots wideout beat him on a deep route down the sideline. Williams said New England was able to take advantage of what then was not a cohesive Eagles secondary when these teams practiced together last August, and that the increase in physical play is a way to assure it does not happen again.
“They’re a physical team,” the seventh-year pro said. “We knew they want to set the precedent early. We knew we had to come out and respond to what we did last season against those guys. They basically came out and punched us in the mouth last year, and we definitely want to be ready for that.”
Williams said he didn’t hear any grief from Patriots players over his “cheaters” comments, but he sure heard it from the crowd, which pelted him with boos and catcalls. He won’t lose any sleep over his reception from Patriots fans, though.
“That’s every day in the National Football League, man,” Williams said. “You let that stuff get to you, then you don’t belong here. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a regular day in the office. … If you don’t get booed at some point, then you’re not doing your job right.
“It was a comment that I made, and that was that. That was then, this is now. We’re out here practicing with these guys, and like I said, I have respect for them.”
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