Williams: ‘I don’t have any hard feelings’

Bill Huber

The last time Jamaal Williams was on a football field, on Sept. 26 vs. Philadelphia, he exited Lambeau Field in an ambulance and spent the night in a hospital.

Williams returned to practice on Thursday. Listed as full participation, he figures to be back on the field when the Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions on Monday.

“It’s an experience I don’t want to go through again,” Williams said. “I don’t want to miss games. It’s a learning experience. Just learn from it and keep on playing, really.”

Just keep playing. That’s the athlete’s mind-set. It’s one reason why a professional athlete is different than the rest of mankind. But how can it be business as usual? How can he tune out the fear factor?

“Mentally strong. I don’t have time to worry about it,” Williams said. “It’s something that happened. I have teammates who probably had the same type of injury come talk to me about what they’ve been through and stuff like that. It’s just an experience you go through, but it’s not something you want to, you know what I mean? Sometimes, you can help yourself not get into the situation but sometimes you’re just part of the game. There’s nothing you can really do about it.

“My case, I try to figure out certain ways I could have helped myself that way, but it wasn’t really anything there. It’s really just football and, at the same time, I know ‘ol boy could have held up or something like that. You might be angry at the moment or something like that, but it’s about playing again. You’re not playing the Eagles right now, so there’s no reason to have hatred toward the person I ain’t going to see until maybe the playoffs. I just don’t care about it. If it ain’t about Packer football right now or not about us playing in this next game on Monday, then it’s nothing to worry about.”

Williams was injured on the first play against Philadelphia. Two Eagles had Williams stopped in his tracks before defensive end Derek Barnett drilled Williams. It was an unnecessary hit. Williams caught the ball at the 11-yard line and was driven back to the 9 when Barnett arrived on the scene and delivered a helmet-to-helmet blow. He was penalized for unnecessary roughness and fined $28,075 – small consolation for Williams.

Nonetheless, he reiterated several times that he holds no grudges.

“It’s football,” Williams said. “We’re all playing for the same thing. We’re all playing. They’re trying to stop us from running the ball, we’re trying to keep running for yards. I don’t know, for that play, I don’t have any hard feelings. I’m out, I’m awake, I’m moving around, I’m still playing the game I want to play. There’s no reason for me to hold that in my heart of like it’s a dirty shot, I hate him, I hate him. I don’t. It’s nothing to really keep in there. It’s the past now. It’s something you have to learn from and just know things like this happen. Hopefully, he learns from this play and not do it again and keep playing his type of play but smarter.”

Williams said he was not contacted by Barnett. He joked that it’s a good thing some of his teammates visited him in the hospital; otherwise, they would have been left off his Christmas list. If it were up to him, he would have played against Dallas.

“I’m crazy like that,” Williams said.

After several minutes of conversation about the play, Williams grew tired of the questioning. He was tired of looking back.

“I just want to talk football,” he said.