Williams dealing with injury, another season of no playoffs

December 30, 2021 GMT
1 of 3
New York Giants' Leonard Williams, right, reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Munson)
1 of 3
New York Giants' Leonard Williams, right, reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Munson)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — This isn’t a good time for New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

His seventh season in the NFL is going to end in less than two weeks like the other six: without a trip to the playoffs. Making this one harder is Williams has been dealing with a painful triceps injury he hopes doesn’t require surgery in the offseason.

Defensive coordinator Pat Graham and line coach Sean Spencer know Williams is struggling with the injury sustained on Dec. 12. They have limited his work in practice to dealing with the new things in the scheme. The Southern California product gets treatment before and after practice. On game days, he tapes the arm, takes an over-the-counter pain reliever — and battles for the next three hours.

When he takes the field for the Giants (4-11) against the Bears (5-10) in Chicago, Williams will be playing in his 110th consecutive games. He’s not patting himself on the back for playing. He said Thursday that almost NFL player is hurting at this point in the season.

“I think during the game I have so much adrenaline, especially in the first half,” Williams said. “I have so much fight in me that I’m not going to be the type to roll over and like be limping and doing stuff like that. Especially if I’m going to say I’m going to go and I’m going to be out there, I’m going to be out there 100%.”

Williams, who signed a three-year, $63 million contract in the offseason to stay with the Giants, said the injury bothers him at night, and even reaching for something can hurt.

Williams hasn’t had spectacular number this season. His 5 1/2 sacks are six fewer than last season. His tackles are up slightly at 69. His role, though, is a little different. He is lining up at all three positions in the 3-4 front, which makes it harder for offenses to find him

“The fact that I can play left side, right side, inside, outside, plays a big difference,” he said.

What would make him happier is making the playoffs. He was drafted by the local rival Jets with the sixth pick overall in 2015 and spent his first 4 1/2 seasons wearing green. The Giants acquired him midway through the 2019 campaign and he has emerged as their top lineman.

The 27-year-old Williams is tired of seeing other players gearing up for the postseason while his team has been eliminated from contention.

“I would definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of guys knowing that they’re going to the playoffs and stuff like that,” Williams said.

The Giants had a shot last season in Joe Judge’s first year as coach but Washington captured the NFC East in the final game of the regular season. New York has not been close this year.

“I obviously see hope always, or I wouldn’t be playing this game still,” Williams said. “I’m not doing this game for the money anymore. I want to be great, and I want to win. I definitely see light at the end of the tunnel.”

NOTES: Starting RT Nate Solder was taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list after a week. He is ramping up in hopes of returning Sunday. Matt Peart started for him last week and suffered an ACL injury. Korey Cunningham, who replaced Peart, was added to the COVID-19 list Thursday along with WR Darius Slayton and practice squad LB Omari Cobb. ... The line may be without starting C Billy Price. He missed his second straight day of practice because of a personal issue the team would not disclose. Guard Matt Skura, the starter on the left side, and Ben Bredeson can play center. ...RB Gary Brightwell (neck), DL Austin Johnson (foot), WR Collin Johnson (hamstring) and WRs John Ross (knee/COVID-19) and Kadarius Toney (shoulder) did not practice for the second straight day.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL