FOXBORO -- Cary Williams must have experienced a sudden change of heart in his attitude toward the Patriots. Or he got a talking to from his bosses.
That's the only explanation for Williams' comments on Tuesday after Philadelphia's first joint practice session with the Patriots. About a week after calling the Patriots "cheaters," and then later steadfastly standing by those comments in a separate interview, Williams backpedaled like he was trying to keep up with Calvin Johnson streaking down the sideline.
"Those guys are class acts. They're respectable. I got a lot of respect for this organization," Williams said. "Especially the players that play within it. They've got a rich history. It is what it is. I can't knock that. They've got great players that play at an elite level. They're a well-known playoff team. As far as I'm concerned we're trying to work our way into the ranks that they've already got themselves into. It was great to come out here and compete. That's all it's about."
When asked directly why he had such a strong change in opinion over such a short period of time, Williams didn't give much of an explanation.
"I've always had respect for them," he said. "It's not that I didn't respect those guys from the beginning. I just made a statement, and that was that. There's always respect when you come between the white lines and play another professional organization."
In all likelihood, someone from Eagles coach Chip Kelly's staff, if not Kelly himself, told Williams to put a lid on it this week. An Eagles team official hoped to end the media's interview with Williams after two-and-a-half minutes of back-and-forth, but Williams voluntarily stuck around to field more questions.
The Eagles and Patriots are scheduled to hold a joint practice on Wednesday and could practice again on Thursday. They will play in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.