|11-18-2005, 12:54 AM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Denver CO
Vilma avoids trash talking DJ (Article).
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma refuses to talk to good friend D.J. Williams this week. And with good reason.
"All he does is talk trash," Vilma said.
Williams and his Broncos are riding high at 7-2, while the Jets are a disappointing 2-7 heading into their matchup Sunday in Denver.
There is a measure of payback, too. After the Broncos lost in the first round of the playoffs last season, Vilma did his own talking as the Jets made it to the AFC divisional round.
"I invited him up to come watch us play, wanted to give him a ticket to come watch us," Vilma said with a chuckle. "He's just being a nice guy and reciprocating that this year."
The two former University of Miami stars will be on the same field for the first time since they left Coral Gables, Fla. Both were first-round picks last year and had impressive rookie campaigns. Vilma won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, while Williams was third.
They remain close despite the miles between them after building a friendship with the Hurricanes. But they weren't always friendly. When Williams arrived at Miami, he was the most highly touted recruit in the country out of De La Salle High in Concord, Calif.
He kept to himself. He never felt comfortable around his teammates because of all the hype. It didn't help that he was moved to fullback his freshman year.
"He was quiet, he had a bad rap, it was kind of tough," Vilma said. "Everyone wanted to see what he was going to do. We had all these other great linebackers already who were like, 'Who is this guy?' He kept to himself."
When Williams was moved back to linebacker after the season, he and Vilma got to know each other better. Now they talk on the phone once or twice a week. Vilma was available when Williams was arrested for drunken driving earlier this season, and Williams is there to listen as Vilma goes through a tough season.
Though he is second in the league in tackles (98) behind Zach Thomas, Vilma has never been on a losing team. The Hurricanes lost four games in the four years he played there.
Though he is making plenty of plays as the star of the defense, his performance is overshadowed because of the poor record of the team. Williams, meanwhile, has a diminished role because he has been splitting time with Ian Gold - but his team is winning.
"I think he's doing a great job," Williams said. "To me, it's like he's the cornerstone of the defense."
Vilma definitely is, and became so popular he took advantage of his marketing opportunities. In the offseason, he did commercials for the NFL and an apparel company and even became a little more outspoken as the leader of the defense.
He predicted a Super Bowl appearance for the Jets in July.
"I never thought the season would go this way," Vilma said. "If someone told me your team would be 2-7, I would put any money that we wouldn't be 2-7."
That is something he now has to deal with, but his teammates say Vilma is playing well despite the struggles around him.
"He looks even more confident this year, he looks a little more like he's into it," defensive end John Abraham said. "He doesn't question himself as much as he did last year. He definitely looks like it's his spot."
Vilma puts himself in the top tier of NFL middle linebackers. But to be the best, he wants what Williams has this season - a successful team.
"When I get very, very close to a perfect season as far as teamwise, personal, everything, I'll be at the top," Vilma said. "That's how Jordan did it, that's how Gretzky did it. That's how it is."
|11-18-2005, 11:14 AM||#2|
RIP Darrent Williams
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Glendale, AZ
DJ and Vilma.
Heimerdinger and Shanny
Leseur comes back to Denver, Fergy plays his old squad
Putziers almost team to be.
Lynch and Edwards connection
All these storylines to pull from, going to be a fun game!