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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.