Growing up in Alabama, Quinnen and Quincy Williams dreamed of one day playing in the NFL, but never did they imagine they’d be wearing the same uniform.
The Jets made that happen when they claimed Quincy Williams, a linebacker, off waivers from the Jaguars on Wednesday, reuniting him with his younger sibling in New York.
“It was dope, man. I really found out when I was walking on the field for practice that day. It was super-exciting for my family … and I know my mom would be super-proud,” Quinnen Williams said after practice Monday, referring to their mother, Marquischa, who died in 2010 due to breast cancer. “We both definitely dreamed about being in the NFL, but definitely not on the same team. … But after that first day we found out, we were both like, now we got to get down to business.”
The 25-year-old Quincy Williams is about 15 months older than Quinnen, who was drafted third overall by the Jets in the 2019 NFL Draft after his sophomore season at Alabama. Quincy was selected the same year by the Jags in the third round (98th overall) after playing four seasons at Murray State.
Both players are now focused on righting the Jets after their teams endured awful 2020 campaigns. The Jags and Jets combined for three victories and landed the top two picks in the draft — quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson.
“Going 2-14 [last season], and he was with the Jaguars and went, what, 1-15 … so it’s like we both just want to win,” Quinnen Williams said. “So we both don’t really care about each other being on the team, if that makes sense.
“We care about going out there and executing to the best of our abilities and winning football games. That’s all that really matters to us, basically, is winning.”
According to Quinnen Williams, Quincy vowed, “that was my last time getting cut” and plans to play hard “every single day to let people know that I’m a good football player, not just Quinnen Williams’ brother.”
“I respected that and told him the same thing,” Quinnen Williams said. “I was like, ‘When you come into this building, bro, I don’t care if you’re my brother or not. We want to win. I want to win. Not to go out there and lose. … So you need to come in with the best [attitude] every day and put your best foot forward every single day.’
“Because I know I’m gonna do that. … That’s what the whole team expects from both of us.”
Quincy Williams missed nine games last season with a core injury, and he managed just 11 tackles (one for a loss) in seven appearances for Jacksonville. He is listed as the Jets’ backup middle linebacker behind C.J. Mosley, who opted out of last season after appearing in just two games in 2019 due to a groin injury.
“He can help the team a lot with his explosiveness and his speed, his knowledge, his IQ level,” Quinnen Williams said of his brother.
Of course, the 23-year-old defensive tackle is expected to again be the leader of the defensive line after notching a team-high seven sacks, with 10 tackles for a loss and 14 quarterback hits in 13 games in 2020. He opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list following foot surgery in May but says he’s ready for Sunday’s season opener against Sam Darnold and the Panthers.
“I feel great, caught up, from a great staff and great coaches that helped me get ready, man,” Williams said. “I think the biggest thing I really focused on during my time out was focus on the plays, learn the plays and doing small little walk-throughs by myself and with [the defensive coaches] … so when I came back I’d be ready to perform.
“I feel great about where I’m at right now and being back on the field.”