In his NFL debut last week, New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams asked out of the Cleveland Browns first drive of the game, saying he was gassed. This led to a hubbub about the first round pick's conditioning (or lack thereof).
All of which led Williams to seek out teammate David Harris - "he's the kind of dude that takes it seriously" - the Jets 31-year old linebacker who is known for his impeccable conditioning. In fact, a major reason why Harris signed a three-year, $21.5 million contract this offseason is because he's arguably in the best shape of his life.
So 10 minutes each day after practice, they put in extra work doing 'Tabata Training' on the spin bike, a time of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that in many ways replicates the pace of an NFL game. It was a training method that Harris found in the offseason a couple years ago and that he'll do with several of his teammates.
With pads and uniforms on, Williams said they will do 10-second bursts of high, intense bursts of pedaling followed by 30 or 40 seconds of moderate speed. Each day, they run this circuit roughly 10 times, maybe more. Doing it after practice, it is extra conditioning for a player who just a few months ago was considered the best player in the NFL Draft.
Williams is willing to put in the extra work even though he doesn't think he's in bad shape.
"I don't think it was just being conditioned. It was my first game, it was really loud. I think there was a lot of stuff tied into it. Their first drive was really long," Williams told Metro.
"Some adrenaline was maybe tied into it.
"Maybe I misspoke."
The training staff looked into his conditioning after the game and said that he was in good shape but that it wouldn't "be too bad if I did a little extra time with David."
"He's done good," Harris said. "He's a self-motivated person, he's trying to get better. I like that about him. He's putting in the work."
Last week, he said before the game he weighed 312 pounds. As of Friday, he said he's lost two pounds this week due to the conditioning ahead of the Jets Monday night game at the Indianapolis Colts.