PLYMOUTH, Minn. (KMSP) - If you think the offseason is just time off for former Gophers tight end Maxx Williams, think again.
He’s been back in his home state since the beginning of June to train for his fourth season in the NFL, a year that will be a new opportunity to get his pro career back on a promising path.
“It’s about that time of the year when you start getting those little nerves,” Williams told FOX 9 about the upcoming start of the NFL season. “You could probably ask my parents when they’re around, you get that little edginess and it gets inside of you that it’s time to play football.”
Williams joined the league as a high draft pick with high aspirations. Maxx piled up 13 touchdowns at Minnesota in only two years and parlayed that into a round two selection in the NFL Draft.
His pro career started with a strong rookie year, but a major knee injury got in the way in 2016. Maxx underwent a particular procedure that is said to be the first to ever performed on an NFL player, a scary notion to say the least for Williams.
“I’ve had football my whole life and all of sudden it was being taken away from me,” Williams said. “It was the uncertainty of if I could come back from the surgery I had."
Maxx will not talk much about the specifics of that surgery, only that it was a cartilage issue in his knee among other things.
“Articular, meniscus, alignment. It’s a whole lot,” Williams said of the cause for surgery.
Williams will not let it hold him back either, saying that he is now healthier than any other time in his NFL career.
“I feel great now,” Williams said. “I tell everyone that I haven’t felt this great since college.”
Maxx’s trainer seems to agree with that self-assessment.
“There were some little things we worked on to get that leg back to 100 percent,” Williams’ trainer Grant Norland said. “In some of his tests he’s doing better on [the leg that required surgery] than he did on his other leg. He is back to 100 percent on that thing.”
Williams is entering his final season under contract in Baltimore, but he is not viewing that as a pressure-packed scenario. His top goal in 2018 is to truly spread his wings with the Ravens.
“I just want to go out and have fun,” Williams said. “I’m taking every moment for what it is and taking it day by day, go out with a smile on my face and just have fun.”