Pulling His Weight

you're talking about," Williams said. "It's the truth, that's real. But it is what it is. You guys have to sell papers and you have to sell tickets. You've got to cover radio.

"But honestly, a lot of the stuff that got put on me last year and the year before was not even my zone to be in."

So why not just come and say that?

"Because I'm not going to do that to my teammates," he said. "If I say, 'it's not my fault' all the time, then I'm really just pointing fingers at the other guys. And I don't want to do that. So I just take it. Put it on me, if you want to, I don't care."

OK, fair enough. That's what a leader is supposed to do.

However, there were times last season when Williams just didn't make the play. Hey, it happens to everyone. I'm not saying he should be perfect.

But in losses to the Eagles on the road and the Giants at home, Williams failed to make the play on the ball in the air, giving up a touchdown both times. He was beaten in pass coverage twice in the playoff loss to Seattle, once against Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens for a touchdown.

So, all these fans want Williams to bulk up and move to linebacker? Well, linebackers have to cover, too, and it's usually against tight ends and running backs. So that's not just the quick fix.

In fact, it was actually nice to see that Williams went the other way.

Instead of bulking up, he trimmed down, losing 26 pounds this off-season to get to 221, the same weight he played as a rookie.

"It's a huge difference for me," he said. "I'm flying around. I'm full of joy and energy."

The flying around part is noticeable already here in training camp. I'll hold off on the full-of-joy part until we get into the season a little bit.

But give the guy credit for making the change. He was listed at 229 pounds last season, but that was his reporting weight at the start of the year. There's no doubt he was in the 240-pound range for that playoff game in Seattle.

"I was just too heavy," Williams said. "But I knew I had to make a change."

So Williams says he's eating right, taking care of his body better and doing a lot of running. But then again, we've seen that. He probably lost 10 pounds alone just running back and forth, pushing those kids on the swing in that United Way commercial.

And if it were up to Williams, he would probably do even more of that kind of charity work if his time permitted.

He may not be the most gracious interview request for someone like me. He may not be the friendliest player when approached by autograph hounds, though he has been signing profusely after practices down here in San Antonio.

But when it comes to giving back, no current Cowboys player does more off the field. Whether it's his own charity - Roy Williams Safety Net - which helps single mothers get back on their feet, or even national charities such as United Way and Salvation Army, Williams is always giving back.

If he didn't care, he wouldn't do it.

The same goes for football. If he didn't care, he wouldn't lose the weight. He wouldn't play with that reckless abandon and put his body through constant collisions with wide receivers. And if he didn't care, he wouldn't get sensitive towards the media for writing what we write and saying what we say.

All in all, Roy is Roy.

Doesn't matter how much he talks to the media. Doesn't matter how many autographs he signs and it really doesn't matter how much off-the-field work he does.

What matters to the Cowboys is his performance on the field - his ability to lead the defense and become the dominating strong safety they need to anchor the defense. At the end of the day, that's where Roy Williams makes the biggest difference.

All of the other stuff is . . . secondary.

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