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

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.