Fitness, weight loss up first for Karlos Williams

Posted Jun 15, 2016

After spending the offseason with his pregnant fiancée and partaking in her frequent cravings, Karlos Williams has a lot of work ahead of him to get back to his playing weight. Meanwhile a deep stable of backs threatens his role as LeSean McCoy’s backup.

After missing the majority of OTAs, running back Karlos Williams has found himself in a less than ideal position as he returned for minicamp this week. Williams is starting to feel the consequences of his offseason and is now stuck playing a game of catch up. The Bills roster is stacked with talented running backs and Williams reported to minicamp overweight. Competition to lock down a spot is fierce, and Williams’ fitness is the driving force behind the pressure he feels to again prove himself to his teammates and coaches.

As Williams enters his second NFL season, he has to work on getting himself back to his playing weight sooner rather than later knowing training camp is just six weeks away. As a rookie last year, Williams was able to establish himself as a valuable backup to LeSean McCoy, the Bills unquestioned feature back.

Williams was a fifth-round draft pick in 2015 for the Bills. Williams’ first carry for Buffalo was a 26-yard touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts. He had nine touchdowns in all last season to tie Sammy Watkins for the team lead.

But now that the competition at running back has thickened, Williams has to make sure newcomers don’t leapfrog him this season. The problem is his fitness level has him limited to just individual position drills. He spent the majority of Tuesday's practice doing conditioning work on the side.

“This is the NFL, the best of the best are going to play. The team is going to pick up guys that fit their system, and we have a lot of guys that fit us in the backfield,” Williams said. “You’ve got to definitely go and be prepared, and get back and ready for football, and get ready for camp.”

After missing the majority of OTAs because of the birth of his fourth child, Williams is focused on getting down to a healthy weight.

“It’s going to require some work, some discipline in the meal room. That’s something that I have to do. I’m a professional,” Williams said. “Being with my pregnant fiancée, when she ate, I ate, so it was kind of hard dealing with that, but the coaches and the strength and conditioning coaches are behind me, so it’s not going to be a problem.”

Head coach Rex Ryan is determined to get him back in football shape, but he doesn't want to expose Williams to injury.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy. Obviously he’s had some personal things. We do have to be slow with him,” Ryan said. “That’s why I wasn’t going to put him out there full speed. He went through some individual drills and things, but we put him with Eric Ciano our strength coach and we tried to get him going a little bit.”

RELATED: Bills minicamp notes - Day 1

Ryan said he’s disappointed with Williams’ weight gain, and that Williams knows this. Being a rookie and coming off of his first offseason after a great year, Ryan is hoping that he’ll learn from his missteps.

“Obviously you wish that he was in much better shape. There’s no question about it,” Ryan said. “I think in the future he’s got to realize that what he did this offseason is far from what you want.”

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor expressed his faith in Williams getting to a good place physically before the season begins.

“Karlos is a heck of a player. He showed that last year. The main thing is that he keeps taking strides moving forward,” Tyrod said. “He’s a responsible guy and he also had a lot of stuff he’s had to deal with this past offseason. He’ll get back to where he needs to be.”

During this year’s offseason, Williams has found himself competing with men who possess a similar skill set to his own, like this year’s fifth-round pick Jonathan Williams. The door has opened for other backs to prove themselves to Buffalo, but Williams is hoping that his brief yet impressive NFL resume will give him a head start on the competition.

“I’ll do what I did last year. Carry over from last year. I remember the playbook,” he said. “I’ve just got to get back and ready for football shape. Take it one day at a time and prepare to play.”

Mike Gillislee and Boom Herron are returning to Buffalo this season, and rookie Jonathan Williams and free agent James Wilder Jr. are also in the offensive backfield. Rather than focusing on the insecurities that could potentially be brought upon by the threat of new blood, Williams is welcoming the concept of Buffalo having a solid group of stable backs.

“You always want to have the best backs that are going to fit your system, and I’ve watched (Jonathan Williams) before. I love the way he runs a football,” said Williams of the rookie. “I watched him going through practice; he has great vision, great cuts. I would love to have him in the backfield with us.”

Williams attended college at Florida State with his new teammate in Buffalo; James Wilder Jr.. Williams was visibly excited about the idea of competing with a former college teammate.

“We’re going to bring the best out of each other. We’re going to push and drive each other to get the best out of one another,” Williams said. “It’s fun having him in the meeting room. We joke, we clown and we’re really, really close off the field, more like family more than anything.”

The team is rooting for Williams to get back to where he was last season as a strong force on the Bills offensive line. Although it’s clear that his bad habits took a toll on his body during the offseason, Williams believes that he’ll be able to get back to prime condition in no time. The second-year back plans to spend a few extra weeks with the strength and conditioning staff in Buffalo after minicamp concludes.

“Since (my fiancée’s pregnancy) is over with, she knows what time it is,” said Williams. “It’s football time again. (I’m) getting back in football shape and getting ready for training camp.”