Ian Williams is back.
But as the nose tackle explained on Tuesday, there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“I don’t really think I’m clear of that final hurdle yet. I’m still working, everyday just to get better. Push myself to see how far I can go. Better myself. That’s all I’m trying to do everyday.”
On Monday, the San Francisco 49ers activated Williams off the physically unable to perform list, 11 months after he sustained a severe ankle injury.
“When [they] activate you off PUP and stuff like that, that’s the paper hurdle. You still got to get over that mental hurdle.”
Williams return couldn’t come at a better time for the 49ers, as fellow defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey faces an indefinite stay on the sidelines after tearing his bicep earlier in training camp. Williams has learned a lot from Dorsey since the 29-year-old arrived a season ago.
“Everybody wants to blow it up as the D-tackle battle, but having a great vet like that come in, and actually talk to you, and teach you some things.”
The rest of the team’s defensive lineman has been a big help for Williams, as well.
“Also having Justin [Smith] and Ray [McDonald] in there like that, and other guys. Watching Tony [Jerod-Eddie] this year play nose guard, I try to take everything from all those guys’ games and mix it all into mine.”
On Tuesday, Williams took full part in practice for the first time during training camp. It was also the first day for Smith and McDonald. With Dorsey out, Williams knows there’s an extra urgency to be ready for Week 1 of the season.
“I’m not going to lie to you, there’s pressure. It’s the NFL, so there’s pressure everyday, but this is what we do—withstand this pressure.”