Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes playing for lost friend Chandler Williams

Antwan Barnes paid tribute to his friend Chandler Williams at practice. Credit: Getty Images
Antwan Barnes paid tribute to his friend Chandler Williams at practice.
Credit: Getty Images

There is a little extra motivation this year for Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes, who is playing for his friend and former teammate, Chandler Williams.

Williams passed away suddenly in early January during a flag football game, reportedly from a heart attack. The death shook Barnes hard as he had become friends with Williams in high school in Miami while they played against each other. Their friendship was further strengthened during college when both players attended FIU together.

Barnes was in Las Vegas at the time of his friend’s death and he knew something was wrong when his mother called him. He quickly changed his plans and flew back to Florida.

“He was the most in-shape guy you will ever meet,” Barnes said. “He was the kind of guy who could go through practice then play a couple pickup games of basketball with no problem, not even being tired. Then hearing that, it makes you think to watch out for everything and get yourself checked out.”

Their friendship lasted even after they both moved on from FIU. Barnes is in the midst of a solid career and just signed with the Jets this offseason. Williams enjoyed a brief NFL career and was in the Arena Football League last season. Their mothers were close as well and the two friends would often talk on the phone and offer “words of encouragement to each other.” The bond he felt was closer than with any other player.

During the fourth day of training camp for the Jets on Monday, Barnes wore a T-shirt underneath his jersey and pads that read “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” with Williams’s name at the bottom. There was a photo of Williams with the wings of an eagle behind him. He wore a similar shirt on Sunday as well.

There is a determination guiding Barnes this year with the Jets. It isn’t his motivation to prove a point on the field or a bigger contract but the fact he is now playing not only for himself, but also for his friend.

He has been a standout performer in training camp, showing very good instincts and a willingness to play physical football. The Jets have revamped their linebackers this year and Barnes has looked like a key part of the unit through four practices.

“Pretty much me, playing for him. I know how much he loved the game football,” Barnes said. “I see myself playing, giving my all for him.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from training camp.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

Music

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act,…

The rocker is releasing two new passion projects.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…