To play cornerback in the National Football League, you need to have, among many things, the ability to shed the previous moment and live in the "now." Cary Williams is perfect in that mold. He lives for the competition, for the fun of the trash talk, for the camaraderie of winning together as a team.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent in March after helping the Baltimore Ravens win last season's Super Bowl, Williams is a key component to a new-look defensive secondary here. He and Bradley Fletcher offer the Eagles a pair of big, physical cornerbacks who are expected to bring it every week.
Mention that idea to Williams and he warms up. He gets exited. An animated man, Williams isn't afraid to show some emotion and display the confidence vital to his position.
"I think I'm a physical game. If you watch the tape I think I've put that in perspective outside," said Williams. "Guys understand that Cary Williams comes to play each and every Sunday."
The Eagles suffered through a troubling decline at cornerback in 2012, and they cleaned house of their starters and turned to free agency to bring in Williams and Fletcher. In a Training Camp where the pace is furious and the receivers are up tempo all the time, the cornerbacks are keeping pace. From this perspective, the competition is intense within that group. Williams and Fletcher may be the penciled-in starters, but a host of younger corners like Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Eddie Whitley and Trevard Lindley are pushing for time.
This is what training camp is all about, and Williams has enjoyed the environment. He started slowly when he suffered a strained hamstring, but Williams has come on of late.
Right on schedule as he fits in very nicely with his new team.
"It's definitely different. You sort of feel like a new kid on the block, or the new kid in school coming in in the middle of the school year," said Williams. "Everyone is looking at you like, 'Why the heck is he here?' This team is different. They welcomed me with open arms. It's been a great transition. Me and a couple of guys have hit it off straight off.
"That's what you want to see from a successful organization. I think we're on the rise and I think we have a great future."
You aren't going to get much of anything negative from Williams. He's got a chip on his shoulder from long ago. Drafted in the seventh round of the draft in 2008 by Tennessee out of Washburn University, Williams bounced back and forth between the Titans practice squad and active roster and was actually released three times in the span of a year and a half.
Eventually, Williams didn't clear the waiver wire, and Baltimore claimed him in 2009. A few seasons later he was a starter with the Ravens and in 2012 Williams starred down the stretch and through the postseason for Baltimore.
All of his hard work and persistence paid off. He didn't let anyone tell him he wasn't good enough.
"I think you have to deal with the positive and the negative that comes with the position," said Williams. "I'm human, first of all, and I believe that you get out of something what you put in and I put in a lot of hours. I came from the bottom and I've worked my way to get to this point and I've never forgotten where I came from.
"Every time I'm on the field I've got a point to prove."
The point now is to prepare to peak for the regular season, and to step into the role as a top-rate cornerback here. Williams has long arms and at 6 feet 1, 190 pounds he has the size to match up against the bigger receivers in the NFC East.
The hunger, clearly, is there for Williams, who was in the crosshairs of the media in the spring when he missed some practice time as he attended to some personal responsibilities rather than attend voluntary workouts.
Those headlines seem like they happened ages ago ...
"Winning a Super Bowl and having the success I had in Baltimore last year doesn't make me less hungry at all," said Williams. "I have some personal goals I still want to achieve. Right now, I'm not there. I come out here every day and work toward those goals for myself and for the team."