By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Maxx Williams grew up the son of NFL center Brian Williams, so he understood the league when he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens out of the University of Minnesota.

Now the veteran Raven is bouncing back from injury in the final year of his contract, and he is preparing the old-fashioned way — early in the morning with hard work.

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Williams burst onto the college scene. His signature move, in his final game as a Gopher, was jumping over a Missouri defender.

“I found out that doesn’t work as well in the pros [laughs], they hit you a little harder,” Williams said.

Home in the offseason is spent, in part, at a workout facility, where he is now in the business of football.

In the final year of a contract with the Ravens, he has had to fight through some injuries.

Maxx Williams (credit: CBS)

“I had the one knee surgery about two years ago on my second season, then a couple things last year,” he said. “But, hey, the way I look at it, it’s football. You know, I know, learned from my dad that those things happen. You kind of just got to work through them and keep going forward.”

Here is where he pays the price, setting offseason goals the same way he does for the season.

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“It’s a lot of little things with a guy like Maxx,” said Grant Norland, a trainer at Inspired Athletics. “He’s got a lot of little refinements to make. So, he’s obviously a phenomenal athlete, and it’s a matter of giving him that extra, little 5 percent edge that those guys need at that level.”

Because in the NFL the opportunity comes and goes quickly. It is a chance to make hay by making it a job.

“It’s a job. You got to go to work every day, and even in the offseason it’s still your job. You got to treat it like that,” Williams said. “You can’t just go, ‘Oh, the season’s over,’ and sit around for four months when you’ve got nothing going on. I mean, you got to dedicate your life to it.”

He entered after just his junior season at Minnesota, buying some more NFL time. And knowing because of his father how important this time is to get better.

“I was fortunate enough to be pretty young when I came out, and fourth year now, being 24, I’m hoping I can just keep doing this and see what happens.”

Because staying here is a big deal, and it requires much, because it is worth it.

“I think it surprised me, I think I could expect a little overall. I mean, it’s a new experience every day and I love it,” Williams said. “Watched my dad do it growing up, and have the opportunity to do it myself now. Just kind of roll with it for as long as I can, have fun and one day when it doesn’t want me anymore, come take [Mike Max’s] job maybe [laughs]!”

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The Ravens open training camp on July 18 because they play the early Hall of Fame this season.

Mike Max