(June 6)—Mo Williams' next game was eight months away. That was the bad news.
"It's one of those games you want to put behind you. You wish you had a game to play right away," the Jaguars offensive tackle said.
He didn't have a game to play right away. All Williams had in front of him was an offseason to endure the memory of the worst game of his football life and the criticism it triggered.
Williams got touched up for 4.5 sacks by New England pass-rusher Willie McGinest in the Jaguars' final game of the 2005 season, a 28-3 playoff loss. Right away, Williams was targeted by his critics as a player the Jaguars had to replace.
Little mention was given to the fact Williams was largely a one-armed man that night in New England. He was playing with an arm weakened by stingers from a neck injury he sustained against Baltimore at midseason. The injury worsened as the season wore on and healing didn't begin until the season was over.
Last year was a season of playing hurt for Williams. He was just getting over the sprained knee he sustained in the fourth game of the season, against Denver, when he injured his neck.
"That's part of being an NFL player. You play through injuries and you don't use them as excuses," Williams said.
"I read some of it," he said of the criticism following the playoff loss in New England. "After awhile, I had to put the paper down."
If there's a positive from that awful night at Gillette Stadium, it's that it focused Williams on making 2006 a comeback season. This is going to be his I'll-show-you year.
"It's like a thorn in my side. It's something I can't shake," he said of the game in New England. "That's the story of the offseason. How is Mo Williams going to come back?
"I'm going to take my game to a new level this year; by being the top right tackle in the NFL. I know I can do it. I've displayed it from time to time," he added.
That'll make everyone forget about New England. The offseason can't end soon enough for Williams.