Three-time San Diego Chargers Defensive Player of the Year, Jamal Williams, has returned to the team after a seven-year absence.
Except this time, he’s a coach.
As Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, Williams signed on to the team for training camp as a coach intern to help lend a helping hand to the young Chargers defensive line.
Williams, now 40, played for the Chargers from 1998 to 2009, being named to three Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams in 2004, 2005 and 2006. During his time in San Diego, Williams was named as Chargers co-MVP in 2008 and four-time Chargers Lineman of the Year along with his three Chargers Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was also named to the 50th Anniversary Team.
He was just one of a plethora of former Chargers greats to join practice on Saturday, with the likes of Quentin Jammer, Stephen Cooper, Nick Hardwick and Donnie Edwards.
Edwards commented on Williams’ situation, saying “Jamal was one of those guys who went out there, didn’t say much at all, didn’t talk, but just got it done. He is one of the last guys I would think of as a coach because he’s not a big talker. After he retired, all the sudden Jamal’s personality came out.”
Despite being slightly non-vocal during his playing days, Williams expressed his pride in the team, “This is the Chargers organization that I played for, for 12 years. I take pride in it even though I haven’t been with the team for a while. I still keep an eye out and see what they can improve on.”
The team is looking for Williams to help influence the team’s talent, like new-signee Brandon Mebane, veteran Corey Liuget and younger players like Bruce Gaston, Tenny Palepoi and Joey Bosa (whenever he decides to report).
Head Coach Mike McCoy’s hope is that he can help express his ‘true pro’ demeanor to the team: “He knew how to take care of his body. He knew how to work. That’s something I want him to kind of carry over with the players here.”
Williams, the No. 10 tackler in Chargers history with 313, has supposedly lost a bit of the weight he had during his playing days when he sat around 350 pounds. Despite this, as Williams says, “I could go throw on some pads and go out there, but I’ll leave it to the young guys to get the job done.”
As Donnie Edwards said when commenting on the team’s defense during his day, “Williams was the key.” Here’s hoping he unlocks the true potential of the defense this season.