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Terrance Williams (Miles Austin) Long read

Staff Writer

Published: 20 March 2014 08:57 PM

Updated: 20 March 2014 10:45 PM

WACO — For one of the first times in his young career, Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams experienced the harsh reality of the business side of the NFL.

The Cowboys released veteran receiver Miles Austin last week, designating him as a post-June 1 cut that will save them $5.5 million against the salary cap. Austin had been a mentor for Williams during his rookie season in 2013. Williams said he was sad to see Austin go.

“He’s a good dude,” Williams said. “I thank him for the stuff he taught me.”

Williams finds himself in an odd situation. He said he’ll miss Austin and what he meant to him but also knows that with him gone, he’s likely to move into the No. 2 receiver role and become a full-time starter.

“It’s kind of new. It’s like my first time seeing stuff like this,” Williams said. “I really don’t know how to feel.”

Williams, the W.T. White product, has spent part of his off-season in Waco, where he was a standout receiver for Baylor. He has been working out with Bears strength and conditioning coach Kaz Kazadi and living with former Baylor receiver Kendall Wright, the Tennessee Titans’ first-round pick in 2012.

Williams and Wright showed up Wednesday at Baylor to support 18 former teammates during the Bears’ pro day in front of scouts from 30 NFL teams.

Williams said he and Wright also spent some time this off-season catching passes from former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, the rival Washington Redskins’ starter.

Williams stopped from his busy off-season schedule a few days ago to take a phone call from Cowboys Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant.

Bryant called Williams to rally the troops after Austin was officially cut. Williams said the conversation with Bryant wasn’t necessarily a pep talk.

“It was just more so, ‘We got to step up now even more with Miles gone,’” Williams said, “and we have to just play our brand of football and basically not worry about what people say about the stuff we’re doing.”

Williams said he’s been working hard to prepare himself for the jump from his rookie season to the second year in the league.

“Now I feel like I’m just going to have to come in there and just pay attention and make a huge step from my rookie year into the guy they believe I can be ... ,” Williams said. “I’m trying to get there and start off with a fast pace and pay attention to what the new coaches are talking about.”

Williams worked with Kazadi for five years at Baylor before the Cowboys drafted him in the third round last year. Williams rewarded the Cowboys last season with 44 catches for 736 yards and five touchdowns.

“That’s the point of me coming back [to Baylor]. I feel like I’ve been with Coach Kaz for five years, and he knows my body as well as anybody,” Williams said. “So I just feel like when I come here, he knows what I can do and he works on me getting stronger and faster, but it’s also I’m doing stuff football related. I’m just not here lifting a whole bunch of weights and running just to get in shape. I’m doing stuff that’s like game-related, like I’ll go lift weights and then I’ll come back in here and run routes with the weight vest on to show in the fourth quarter how tired you are. ...

“Last year I started off slow and then started picking it up. Now, I’ve obviously got a year. I’m just trying to come in and start off where I left off and continue to keep building it up.”

Bryant has been a mentor for Williams during his short time with the Cowboys, helping to uplift him after some of his early mistakes. Wright also helped Williams get through his rookie hiccups.

In his first month in the NFL, Williams ran a wrong route against the Giants that led to a Tony Romo interception and lost a fumble trying to stretch for the end zone at San Diego. On Thanksgiving, Williams fumbled the opening kickoff against Oakland, and the turnover was returned for a touchdown.

“He had some hard games where I talked to him last year where he fumbled or dropped a pass,” Wright said. “I told him just keep playing, and that’s what he did. He overcame it. He’ll be a great player for the Cowboys.

“He could have started his rookie year to me. He’s ready for all the expectations.”

Wright said he can already see a big difference in Williams in his first NFL off-season. Williams said he feels like he’ll be much more prepared for Year 2 than he was going into his rookie season.

“Last year I went into the league not knowing how fast it was going to be and how much detail you have to pay attention to,” Williams said. “But now I feel like I know the do’s and don’ts for my mistakes that I made. I just know each game and each practice you’ve got to come in with the same mode, the same mind-set.”

With Austin gone, Williams knows he’ll be asked to do more.

“I have to continue doing my job and showing them why they brought me here,” Williams said, “and I’m going to have to just suck it up and do my job the way they brought me here to do it.”

WACO – Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has come a long way in his growth as a team leader since his rookie season in 2010. Another example of Bryant embracing his leadership role came a few days ago.

After the Cowboys cut receiver Miles Austin last week, Bryant called receiver Terrance Williams to rally the troops. With Austin gone, Williams will likely move up to the No. 2 receiver’s role in the Cowboys’ offense behind Bryant. Williams, who was in Waco on Wednesday to support his former Baylor teammates at their pro day, said the conversation with Bryant wasn’t necessarily a pep talk.

“It was just more so, ‘We got to step up now even more with Miles gone, and we have to just play our brand of football and basically not worry about what people say about the stuff we’re doing,’” Williams said.

Bryant has also been a mentor for Williams during his short time with the Cowboys, helping to uplift him after some of his early mistakes.

Williams said the recent phone call from Bryant was yet another example of him leading.

“The reason why I pay attention to them when they talk, I feel like when Miles and Dez speak, they don’t speak much, but times when they do talk, is something they really, really have to say,” Williams said. “They just don’t talk just to talk. Normally, when people do that, I tend not to pay attention because it’s, ‘here you go talking again.’ But with those two guys, when they finally get the courage to speak, that’s when people really start paying attention.”

Bryant talked to Williams some on the phone about what to expect going from his rookie season in the NFL to Year 2.

“He was just like it’s a whole different side, like a learning tool you can take from your experiences from your rookie year and just come back the second year and try not to make the same mistakes,” Williams said, “but also it’s kind of fun because you know what to expect when you play because you’re not coming into a brand new environment. You can mix in your game into different ways instead of coming in there new and doing stuff all the same.”

Miles will be missed for a number of reasons, but so will Ware, 2 great Cowboys have gone down the road.

Well lets see how close he comes to getting a 1000 yrds this coming season. Miles will be missed for many many reasons, no way will this guy fill his shoes.

I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so!
El Kabong

Miless was a guy who always showed class, I wish the Cowboys would still offer him a deal. Him and Romo and Witten should ride off in the sunset together.

Tony will talk with Miles and Garrett, maybe this story isn't over yet!

Its really hard to say goodbye to Miles, only time will tell the whole story. I'm glad Miles got some money a lot of guys never get that lucky.

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