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Miami Dolphins center Connor Williams: The pads are coming on now and it’s time for football

Connor Williams held out of mandatory minicamp after starting 16 games last season.

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Miami Dolphins Training Camp Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Connor Williams was on the field for every snap the Miami Dolphins offense played last season — all 1,057.

Williams, formerly a guard while playing for the Dallas Cowboys, surrendered just three sacks and was called for six penalties while starting 17 games at center.

Miami signed Williams to a two-year deal worth $14,035,000 last offseason and he will have a cap hit of $8,375,000, or 3.7 percent of the salary cap for 2023.

Unhappy with his contract, Williams sat out of mandatory minicamp and wanted to negotiate a better deal.

“I had contract talks all of OTAs and stuff – it was a time for business and everything,” Williams explained on Wednesday. “But the pads are coming on now and it’s time for football. It’s time for camp. It’s football time. No business anymore. I’m forgetting about that and moving on.

“I’m head down and focused out here. Everything upstairs, agents can talk. I’m working on me and focusing on me right now, focusing on my craft.”

Guard Robert Hunt missed one of Miami’s 1,057 snaps last year, only Williams was present for 100 percent of the offense’s plays. Turning his attention to football, the sixth-year veteran looks to build on last season.

“Just solidifying my game,” Williams said of his focus on the first day of training camp. “Obviously coming in last year to a new position, things are picking up on the fly and now it’s just about solidifying that spot, feeling comfortable with all the blocks and all the positions and being able to solidify my role as a leader, as the center, and being able to lead better.”

Contract negotiations can get messy but Williams isn’t entering camp with a bad taste in his mouth.

“I’m just excited to be back on the field,” he said. “[Coach] Mike [McDaniel] definitely supported me through this. He has been able to put aside the coach and everything and be human-to-human, which has really helped along the way.

“I love the guy, I respect him to death and I love playing for him.”

It’s clear Williams would like to extend his stay in Miami, but for now, vibes are high with the season quickly approaching.

“We have experience and talent,” Williams said. “We have depth. We have a great group of guys with good energy and we all know what we’re doing. We all know the task at hand and what it’s going to take, so it’s exciting.”