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

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Going Out

Get down and dirty at these neighborhood dives

Philly's got its share of innovative gastropubs and seen-and-be-seen drinking establishments with inventive cocktails served in mason jars. But sometimes we just want a shot…

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.