Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

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Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

Later this month, the Eagles will head to Foxboro for a series of joint practices against the Patriots leading up to their preseason game. Last year, the Patriots came to Philly for the same purpose.

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams made it clear Friday that he’s no fan of practicing against other teams, especially the Patriots, the culprits of the “Spygate” scandal.

“They are cheaters,” Williams said. “They are.”

In 2007, the Pats were fined $250,000 by the NFL and docked a 2008 first-round pick for illegally videotaping opponents’ defensive signals. Head coach Bill Belichick, who’s still the head coach, was fined an additional $500,000.

Williams, whose disdain for the Patriots goes back to his days with the arch-rival Ravens and their heated playoff showdown, said there’s no benefit to practicing against other teams, especially a team with New England’s “history.”

“You don’t wanna give any — I don’t care whether it’s the Patriots or it’s the the dang Bengals, whoever it is — you don’t want to give them an opportunity to look at your stuff,” he said. “That’s just me, from a personal standpoint. I don’t want to show none of my cards.

“So to me it’s not benefiting us because they’ve already proven who they are (from Spygate), that’s their history. And I don’t like them, not only because of that, but because I just don’t like them. I played them three of four times in a row [in the playoffs].”

Williams said he also hates the Steelers, one of Baltimore’s division rivals, and is developing a distaste for other NFC East teams, but he reserved the “cheaters” label exclusively for the Patriots and noted their Super Bowl drought since Spygate penalties were levied.

“I’m trying not to go into details about it or disrespect that organization because I give that organization nothing but ... you still got to go out there and play the game,” he said. “All the credit. I give them all the credit in the world. But one fact still remains, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught.”

He then added, “You got caught. I know you’re gonna be looking at the film when we go out there. That’s just that. I don’t want to show them my card. That’s just me, not them. Not them. Every team is gonna look at it anyway. We’re gonna look at what they do too.”

Williams made his displeasure known last year, when he was booted from a joint practice after scuffling with a New England wideout. Eagles coach Chip Kelly and Belichick, coaching pals, made a prior agreement that any player caught tussling would be kicked out of practice.

The Ravens and Patriots met three times in the playoffs when Williams played for Baltimore, with the Ravens winning twice. They squared off in the AFC Championship Game twice, with New England winning 23-20 in 2011 and Baltimore prevailing 28-13 the following season.

Joint practices have become trendy around the league. The Patriots are also having combined sessions with the Redskins this summer. Last year and in 2012, the Pats practiced against the Buccaneers leading up to a preseason game.

The Eagles never had joint practices in Andy Reid’s 14 seasons. Before last year, the hadn’t practiced against another team in the preseason since working out with the Bills in 1998.

Williams said the game intensity is lost when teams practice against each other leading up.

“I like the mystery, you know what I mean?” he said. “I used to like the mystery, where you just come into camp, you do your camp, you go against those other guys and you get that itch to go hit some other guys. When you’re practicing against other guys, other teams early on, you don’t get that itch. That itch is gone.

“And then there’s certain things in practice [last year] that I didn’t agree with that went down, so I know it’s going to be the same thing this year. To me, I didn’t see how we benefited from that practice at all. And maybe it’s because I do not like the Patriots.”

Training camp is a week old, and this marks the third time Williams has sounded off about a certain topic. First, he said he likes to see fights in camp. Then, he explained why he should be considered one of the league's elite cornerbacks.

This is all somewhat surprising because in the spring, he said wouldn't be as outspoken as he was last year.

"I don't think I'm going to change much, but I think I'll be [wiser] with what I have to say," Williams said in April. "I'll be a little bit [smarter] before I react and talk a lot more."

Never change, Cary.

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

BOSTON -- A person familiar with the situation says the New England Patriots have agreed to terms on a deal with former New York Jets linebacker David Harris.

The new two-year pact could be worth as much as $6.75 million, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal has not yet been announced.

Harris, a 2007 second-round pick from Michigan who has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in New York, was released earlier this month by the Jets in a series of offseason moves to cut high-priced veterans. He was the franchise's second-leading tackler.

He now moves within the division to play for Bill Belichick, who has lauded Harris' play in the past. It also gives the Patriots some veteran depth to pair with Dont'a Hightower.

Jaguars: Rhaney claimed off waivers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The Jaguars announced the move Wednesday and said they released rookie offensive lineman Parker Collins to make room on the roster for Rhaney.

The 6-foot-2, 301-pound Rhaney was a seventh-round draft pick out of Tennessee State by the Rams in 2014. He spent his first season on injured reserve but played in every regular-season game the past two seasons, starting once at left guard in 2015.

Packers: Guion arrested on suspicion of DUI
HONOLULU -- Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in Hawaii.

Honolulu police booking records show Guion was arrested early Wednesday in Waikiki. He was released after posting $500 bail.

Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey says in a statement that the team is aware and will refrain from making further comment because it's a legal matter. He says he doesn't know what Guion was doing in Waikiki.

Guion was suspended without pay by the NFL for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He started 15 games last season, making 30 tackles. The nine-year veteran agreed to a three-year deal worth $11.25 million in February 2016.

NFL: Former player Ryan Jones shot dead
RENO, Nev. -- Nevada authorities say former NFL linebacker Ryan Jones was shot dead over the weekend in a Reno apartment and two other people suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway declined comment Tuesday on the circumstances that led to Sunday's shooting because detectives were still interviewing people for their investigation.

Jones, 26, signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and had a stint with the New York Giants before becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.

He was the first Montana Tech football player in the college's history to sign an NFL contract.

Jones graduated from Hug High School in Nevada before attending Sierra College and then Montana Tech in 2011.

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks is a good middle linebacker. 

After his first two seasons in the NFL, the former third-round pick has piled up some eye-popping numbers. 

In his first 24 games in the league (his rookie season was cut short with a pec injury), he has seven interceptions, 14 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two sacks. 

He's just the fifth player in NFL history — and only linebacker — to have that many INTs, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles in the first two years of his career. 

Hicks, who turns 25 later this month, is already really good. The next step is to become great. 

Is there room for more growth? 

"I would hope so," Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole said last week. "We're all emotionally tied in with our guys. I think he's done a great job for us. Is there room for improvement? No question. But he works at it. It's important to him. I know it's important for him that he puts the team success above himself. 

"I would suspect that there's more ceiling for him at linebacker. And I expect him to work at those things." 

Hicks actually had a chance to work on some of those things this offseason. As he exited last year, it was clear Hicks possessed ball-hawk traits, but admittedly needed to get better against the run. 

After his first NFL season, Hicks was stuck recovering from his torn pectoral and subsequent surgery. The rehab didn't allow him to strength train as much as he would have liked. 

This year, it's been a different story. He's hit the weight room hard, put on some extra weight, and hasn't been hamstrung by a tedious rehab process. 

"It's been great, man," Hicks said. "Having a full offseason to get in rhythm, having a full offseason to lift and get stronger and not have to take a step back to rehab and do everything over again, it's huge. Huge. To just build and stack and stack on top of each other."

Flajole agrees with Hicks, that the extra time in the weight room will help him against the run, specifically at the point of attack.  

Flajole isn't the only person in the NovaCare Complex who thinks big things are still ahead for Hicks. After the season finale against the Cowboys last season, Malcolm Jenkins said he thought Hicks is "trending to be one of the better linebackers in this league."

While Hicks wants to improve his run defense, it's undeniable that the strength of his game — to this point — is his knack for being around the ball. He always seems to be making a big play, whether it's an interception or a fumble recovery. 

It might seem like chance, but Flajole doesn't discount it as such. 

"He's a very instinctual guy and I think he understands the game," Flajole said. "The thing that can't be discounted for Jordan is that he works at it. He watches a lot of tape and because of those things, he feeds off of tendencies that the offense would give him, either by down and distance or formation. And he uses those to his advantage." 

For the second straight year, Hicks will be in the same defense under Jim Schwartz and will have the same battery mate in Nigel Bradham, who enters the second year of his two-year deal. 

At some point before the 2017 season starts, Hicks will set some personal goals for himself, like he does every year. While he hasn't set them yet, Hicks said they are normally leadership-based or stat-based. 

"It definitely gives you something to reach for and keep you on track," Hicks said. "Just like you set team goals. If you're not setting goals, you're just working towards nothing, just shooting in the air at nothing." 

One thing the goals won't be is accolade-based. Sure, Hicks would like to be named to his first Pro Bowl, but that won't be on the checklist. 

If he gets better than he's been in Year 1 and 2, it'll only be a matter of time before the recognition catches up with his stats. 

"I'm not really worried about the accolades at this point," he said. "It's not really what I'm focused on. I believe that if you're doing what you need to do, day in and day out, you're giving it everything you got, the rest will come. I'm focused on what I can do for this team, what I can do to make this team the best it can be. And let the rest fall in place."