Williams to build after breakout year with Chargers

LOS ANGELES — The first thing former Western Oregon receiver Tyrell Williams did after the 2016-17 NFL season was head to Hawaii.

The trip was well-earned.

After injuries to some of the Los Angeles Chargers’ top receivers in 2016, Williams made the most of his chance, emerging as the team’s top threat, but it took its toll physically.

“You have to take care of your body,” Williams said. “After the season, you’re pretty worn down. That was something I wasn’t ready for. Your body is going to be beat up.”

The season may be taxing, but it has been well worth it.

It wasn’t so long ago that Williams was working at a far less glamourous job.

“I was washing dishes in college,” he said. “I liked it. I got free lunch.”

His current job requires a bit more dedication, even during the “offseason.”

“I go back after the season and talk with coaches on what to improve on going into OTAs and workouts on my own,” Williams said. “I focus on things that will take my game to the next level next year and not make the same mistakes as I did last season.”

An increased focus on the timing and speed will make Williams a more complete receiver.

“I worked on getting out of breaks quicker and attacking the ball in the air so that any ball thrown up there is mine,” Williams said.

The drive to improve can be traced back to his days at Western Oregon.

Coming into college, Williams was physically gifted, but lacked the work ethic.

“I used to be really lazy up until WOU,” Williams said. “I never worked out too much and didn’t do anything extra.”

Strength coach Cory Metzger changed all that.

“She didn’t allow anyone to be lazy,” he said.

That work ethic proved to be key in finding a home in the NFL. Now it’ll help determine how big of a weapon he is during this coming season.

Some of Williams’ targets last year were because as injuries piled up, he remained one of the constant weapons at quarterback Philip Rivers’ disposal.

With players like Keenan Allen returning from injuries and new additions, like rookie receiver Mike Williams, competition for targets will be high.

But Williams views that as a positive, not a drawback.

“Our offense should be really strong,” Williams said. “Everyone has been doing well, and it’s nice to see all the guys out there and seeing how many weapons we do have.”

Williams will be ready to make the most of whatever chances he has.

“Getting opportunities to catch the ball is all you can ask for,” he said. “You have to be ready to make the most of those opportunities.”

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