Mike Williams weighs about one cheerleader less than he did five months ago.
The Washington Redskins offensive tackle has lost a staggering 108 pounds since he took up the twin disciplines of proper eating and vigorous workouts in February.
That’s good news for both Williams’ health and his hopes of reviving his football career more than three years after he last appeared in an NFL game.
Make no mistake: At 6-foot-7 and 342 pounds, Williams is still a huge man. But the discipline and work of slimming down have paid off.
“It’s five months of… eating consistent, eating on time, working out,” the 29-year-old Williams said. “It took a lot of mental focus. There was a lot of discipline involved, but as soon I got into the routine, it was pretty easy. I started feeling good, healthier.”
Williams started his weight-loss program because, at 450 pounds, he worried about being healthy in his everyday life. But along the way, he rediscovered his love of football.
“When I came here to try out [on April 24], it was like, ‘Man, you still got it,’ ” said Williams, who last played for Buffalo in 2005 and spent 2006 on Jacksonville’s injured reserve list with a bad back. “There are some things that are a little rusty, but it’s there. It’s kinda like uncovering an antique. Polish it up a little bit, and it’s worth some money. There are some things that need to be polished up, but the value’s still in me.”
Indeed, while Stephon Heyer, who began 2008 as the starting right tackle, is No. 1 on the depth chart as training camp begins Thursday, coach Jim Zorn said his biggest concern this summer is finding a starter at the spot opened by the release of Jon Jansen in May.
“From my standpoint, [Mike’s] ready to go two-a-days,” Zorn said. “He’s in really good shape. He looks like he’s done all that he can do to get himself ready. He’s in a real competitive situation.”
Which, after being out of the league the past two seasons, is all Williams can ask.
“Walking away was frustrating,” Williams said. “Coming back is fulfilling. It’s not about proving people wrong. This is what I want to do. When I was done then, I was unsure. When I’m finally done now, it’s going to be like, ‘I did everything I could.’ ”
Jeremy Jarmon, chosen by the Redskins in the third round of the July 15 supplemental draft, is relieved that he’ll be in camp on time.
The defensive end signed Tuesday and knows he has plenty of ground to make up. Jarmon had expected to return to Kentucky this fall. But he failed a drug test - he says an over-the-counter dietary supplement is to blame - and drew an NCAA ban.
The club’s other rookie hopefuls got a crash course in the Redskins’ systems during minicamp and organized team activities this spring. The 6-3, 277-pound Jarmon worked out for a month at a training facility in Tennessee in preparation for the supplemental draft.
“I’ve sat down with [defensive line coach John Palermo], and there’s going to be a little leeway to make mistakes,” Jarmon said. “I feel like I can catch onto things pretty quickly. I’m going to hold myself to my own standards. I’m not going to take advantage of that slack that’s going to be given to me.”
Zorn said the Redskins are not interested in signing former Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick, whose 23-month suspension was lifted Monday by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. …
Zorn will allow players who have been in the league for at least four seasons to stay at home instead of at Landsdowne during training camp.