Williams returned from knee surgery in time for offseason practices.
meetings," he recalled. "Just go home and just relax or try to prop your knee up. It wasn't very exciting and you couldn't be with the team."
Now he's back, gaining more confidence in the knee. He understands it might get a little sore, but he has to let it "slip his mind." He's in good hands.
On the field, he and fellow '09 classmate Victor Butler - another linebacker with ability - have advisors. Spencer and Ware share daily pass rush proposals - different moves, hand techniques and angles for an extra edge.
There isn't exactly a surplus of snaps available. Ware and Spencer combined for 17 sacks last year. They might be the best rush duo in the league, and they're in for just about every play.
But no mortal can play all-out at an optimal performance level for an entire game. Everyone needs a break, and Williams, if he continues to progress from last year's injury, could get some action. Phillips' perpetual mantra is playing guys who have earned the right to play, no matter who's in front of them.
"I think Brandon is that guy," Ware says after validating Phillips' comparison. "I think Brandon can do it."
Replies Brandon: "For him to say that, it's big to me. And it makes me want to step up even more."
That's No. 59. Keep your eyes peeled starting Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio, against the Cincinnati Bengals.