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Jets' Leonard Williams doesn't let fear of injury stop him

New York Jets DL Leonard Williams, the team's

New York Jets DL Leonard Williams, the team's first-round selection (sixth overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft, speaks to the media during Day 1 of rookie minicamp held at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. on Friday, May 8, 2015. Credit: James Escher

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The timing was simply a coincidence, Leonard Williams said.

The Jets' first-round pick signed his rookie contract Friday evening -- just hours after his friend Jaguars rookie Dante Fowler was carted off the practice field. Fowler -- the third overall pick in the 2015 draft -- will miss the entire season after tearing the ACL in his left knee on Day 1 of rookie minicamp.

"Him getting injured really didn't have anything to do with me or what I was thinking about," said Williams, who is represented by the same sports agency that represents Fowler. "The only reason why I wanted to hurry up and get it out of the way is it's one less thing to think about or worry about."

Williams, whom the Jets selected sixth overall, said he sent Fowler a text message after he heard the news. "I felt bad for him . . . But he's a strong dude and I know that he's going to get stronger from it. It's unfortunate," he said.

But the defensive end insisted he's not worried about suffering a significant injury early in his career.

"Not at all," Williams said. "Injuries are always happening in the NFL. If you think about it, it's going to happen. You've just got to go out there and keep playing."

Former Jets coach Rex Ryan held out Quinton Coples, their 2012 first-round pick, from 11-on-11 drills during rookie minicamp for fear that he would get hurt against inferior competition. But new Jets coach Todd Bowles said Friday that he's not overly concerned about his draft picks suffering serious injuries.

"You grow up playing football and being injured is part of it," he said. "If you worry about getting injured, then you're going to get hurt. You have to play your best against no matter who it is across the line and you just let it go. That's my belief."

Now that his rookie contract is signed, Williams said he's focused on other matters -- like his first big purchase.

"Yeah, I've gotta get a car," the 20-year-old said with a smile. "I need some transportation to get back and forth from wherever I'm staying.

"But I've gotta get a license first."

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