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 Post subject: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:43 pm 
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Article on how somebody like Ryan Williams is staying in shape by going back to school. I thought it was more interesting that his agent told him NO to the "organized" activities b/c he hasn't signed a contract. Kindle was the ex, and really I don't suppose I blame him. FWIW, Tim Hightower won't give him number 34 (his idol was Sweetness), so now Hightower should have a big X on his back, not that he wouldn't have anyway.

http://www.roanoke.com/sports/vtfootball/wb/289207

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BLACKSBURG -- Former Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams came back to school after all. Sort of.

Thanks to the NFL lockout, Williams has yet to sign a contract with the Arizona Cardinals, who selected him 38th overall in April's draft. He hasn't gotten a playbook, hasn't gone through a mini-camp and can't work out at the team's facilities.

So Williams is back in Blacksburg, running and lifting daily in the Hokies' weight room, trying to keep his body ready for when the lockout ends. The day Arizona drafted him, during the only conversation Williams had with the team's management, the Cardinals gave him just one instruction:

"Stay in shape," he said, "because you never know when [the lockout is] going to be called off."

Williams wants to hit the ground running whenever he joins his team, believing he can immediately help a Cardinals rushing attack that was the NFL's worst last season.

"We want to see Ryan starting from Day 1," said Williams' agent, Malik Shareef. "Being in shape from the beginning is a big part of it."

To that end, Williams returned to Tech about two weeks ago to refocus his training. He said the hardest thing about staying fit is the food. While he'd prefer to eat a steady diet of fruits and vegetables, "it's easy to get distracted when you're around friends and family."

After playing last season at about 210 pounds, Williams weighed 216 last Thursday morning before his workout. He said the Cardinals would like him to be between 205 and 208.

"They just want me fast," he said, noting there are fewer distractions from his training in Blacksburg, which becomes a ghost town in summers with most students gone. "It's isolated, so I can stay focused."

Ideally, though, he'd be in Arizona. In fact, Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been in touch and wants Williams to join the player-led workouts. It would be good for Williams to build some relationships on the team, to get a peek at the playbook and to see what kind of workouts he'll face in the NFL.

"A lot of times when guys go from high school to the college workout, you see a big leap in their bodies," Shareef said. "I think the same applies to going from college to the NFL."

Even so, Shareef has advised Williams not to join the player-led workouts because Williams hasn't signed a contract and an injury might be a disaster.

The agent points to former Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle, who was the No. 43 pick in the 2010 draft but fell down a flight of stairs and broke his skull before signing a contract. Because of medical concerns, Kindle ultimately signed a one-year deal for the rookie minimum, $320,000, with no signing bonus. The 43rd pick in the 2009 draft signed a four-year, $4.3 million deal with $2.7 million guaranteed.

"If we weren't in a lockout, you'd be working out under supervision and receiving treatments from team physicians," Shareef said. "It's just too scary to think of what he could lose if he got hurt."

Last year's No. 38 pick signed a four-year, $5 million deal with $3 million guaranteed. That was a 7 percent increase over that slot a year earlier, and Williams' agent would expect a similar bump for his contract, assuming a rookie wage scale isn't part of the new collective bargaining agreement. But Williams and his agent aren't willing to assume much these days.

"It's an uneasy time," Shareef said. "Imagine working your whole life to get to this dream, then you get there and you can't get to work."

Williams is still working plenty, though, hoping to be ready when the NFL calls.

Tech's strength and conditioning staff puts together daily workouts for him and undrafted former Hokies center Beau Warren, tight end Andre Smith and defensive tackle John Graves, all of whom hope to sign free-agent contracts after the lockout. Their routine is scribbled on a dry-erase board that also bears an inspirational message: Forge your body in the fire of your will.

Williams runs through agility drills -- often wearing a 25-pound vest -- and sprints through a sand pit in 90-degree heat. Next week, he'll begin working out in full pads, just to get that feeling back.

"I want to come in and be an impact player," he said, shrugging off the obvious disadvantage that he's missing valuable time to learn Arizona's offense. "That just means I'll have to work extra hard to get on the field.

"Football is about adjusting, just like life, so I'll adjust."

In the meantime, Williams' agent said he ends their phone conversations with the same message each day:

"Please, don't get hurt."

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 Post subject: Re: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:41 pm 
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Ehh, it doesn't make much sense. Kindle suffered a non-football related injury that cost him money. WIlliams working out in Arizona vs. Blacksburg doesn't change his risk for injury if he's going through football-related activities.

Kindle also was recovering from knee surgery when he fell down two flights of stairs.

Inexperienced agent I say. Williams apparently is only 1 of 3 clients for this Shareef guy, who also reps Joe Haden and Rashad Carmichael. They began their biz in 2007.

There is really no positive for why Williams works out in Blacksburg vs. with his teammates elsewhere on the planet, except to cut down on travel costs. He doesn't need to be at all the player-led workouts, just a few so that he can begin the integration and transitioning process to his team, system, new S&C program, etc. all the things that you need.

They have mini-camps and OTAs for a reason, and while these player-organized workouts are a very far cry from those, it's much closer than anything he could be doing in Blacksburg.

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 Post subject: Re: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:09 pm 
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I guess I see it differently. One, he would NEVER get as good a gym workout somewhere in Az with no guidance, vs Mike Goforth at Tech is legendary for strength and conditioning at the collegiate level. He is personally designing his workouts DAILY, and he already knows what he's capable of from the last 3 years. To me the part he misses is mental, which is a big deal (but how much is a Hightower or Wells gonna help him when he's there to take their jobs).

I think its simple (and maybe more so after you discovered he only has 3 clients), ANY injury, in any place you're working out, means you get screwed on the contract. It's money.

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 Post subject: Re: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:44 pm 
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I get why the agent said it, it's just that his justification seems very weak to me. You're right, it's about money. But whether he plants his leg wrong catching a swing pass from John Skelton vs. someone dropping a dumbell on his leg in Blacksburg doesn't make any difference. I'm just saying he's not "safer" in Blacksburg.

I'm just saying that just going to Arizona for a couple of days, just to meet some of his teammates and get an idea about what is expected of him, pick up a few tips to help him get a head-start on the offense, protection schemes, and the new S&C program he'll have in Arizona, etc. IMHO that small benefit/reward outweighs the cost/risk of injury that would occur.

He doesn't have to stay out there for the rest of the summer. Just a few days or a week or so, and then he can come back to Blacksburg. But for his agent to tell him not to go because of fear of an injury is just a bit asinine to me. His risk of injury isn't any higher in Arizona than it is in Blacksburg. I'm just saying there is no good reason for him to not to go out there.

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 Post subject: Re: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:19 pm 
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I hear ya, yeah its just money, and his agent having a whopping 3 clients.

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 Post subject: Re: Drafted Rookies - Working Out
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:54 am 
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http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falco ... 74265.html

Good read on the Falcons player-organized workouts. But note in the middle the discussion of the emphasis on avoiding injuries during these things. Just again emphasizing my belief that "fear of injury" is a pretty asinine reason for why Williams hasn't gone to Arizona.

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