Retire? Are you kidding? Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams, who will turn 34 in October, is looking lean, mean and ready to play another four years. He hopes all four will come wearing Purple.
Training camp doesn't start for another 10 weeks, but Vikings Pro Bowl nose tackle Pat Williams already looks like Mr. Mankato.
"I feel great," Williams said. "My weight's down to 327. They want me at 325 before camp starts, so I'm great, I'm good, let's go."
Williams said he was 337 when he reported to training camp last year. Coach Brad Childress, in his first training camp with the Vikings, placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list until he lost weight.
"I understood why he did it," Williams said. "Last year, everything was new. They came in with different stuff. This year, I'm coming in with everything right."
Williams also could be coming in with a new contract extension befitting an 11-year veteran who is both a valuable team leader and someone who is still at or near the top of his position in the league. He is due to make $2.65 million in the last of a three-year contract he signed with the Vikings when he left Buffalo via free agency after the 2004 season.
"We had preliminary discussions just to let it be known that the Vikings want Pat beyond this season, and that Pat wants to finish his career as a Minnesota Viking," said Angelo Wright, Williams' agent. "Now we're just waiting for an offer. We expect some kind of offer probably before training camp."
Williams, 33, said he would like to play another four years and then retire to Monroe, La., where he finished building a new home last month.
"My wife [Valarie] keeps asking me, 'When are you going to retire?' and I keep saying, 'It's not time. I'm still fresh,' " Williams said. "I wasn't a starter until my fifth year in the league. I was a backup. So I didn't get all that banging."
Williams said no matter what happens between his agent and the Vikings over the next 10 weeks, he will report to training camp on time and in shape.
"I already talked to Childress, so we're on the same page," Williams said. "I told him, 'You don't have to worry about me. I'll be in camp. I'll be training.' That's the type of guy I am. I'm not the type of guy who is going to cause a mess."
Williams said he'd like a four-year deal. As far as the financial figures he's looking for, he would only say, "I just want to be treated right because I always do what's right. I never complain and I come to work on time. I don't have any problems playing for Coach Childress. I love [defensive line coach Karl] Dunbar. I think he's the best d-line coach in the league. I love playing next to Kevin [Williams]. I want to finish my career here."
Williams made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season. He said his goal is to be even better this season.
"Reporters always ask me, 'Was this the best year for you?' " Williams said. "And I always say, 'No. My best year is going to be next year.' I'll always be better next year."
Mark Craig email@example.com
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