Kyle Williams: from unemployment line to Seahawks offensive line
Seahawks will try their third different starter at the critical left-tackle position. Their choice is a guy who lived with his in-laws and was out of work two years ago.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Cardinals @ Seahawks, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13 and ESPN 710 AM
Two years ago Kyle Williams was undrafted, unemployed and living with his in-laws in Arizona.
On Wednesday, he was the first Seahawk in line to start at the most important position on the offensive line.
The left tackle is supposed to be the bedrock for an offense, but it has been booby-trapped in Seattle this season. Williams is Seattle's fourth left tackle and he will replace Brandon Frye, who was filling in for Sean Locklear, who was stepping in for Walter Jones.
That left the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Williams practicing with the first-unit offense Wednesday while 10-year veteran Damion McIntosh joined the team.
"He's a pro," coach Jim Mora said of the 25-year-old Williams. "He's expected to do his job. We're not dealing with a high-school kid here. He knows what it's all about."
Williams began this season on the practice squad, but he has been through this before. He started the final two games in 2008, becoming only the fifth Seahawk to start at left tackle in the 12 seasons since Seattle drafted Jones.
This year, Williams will become the third different starting left tackle in six games. That total does not include Jones, the presumed starter who has been unable to return from offseason knee surgery.
Seattle had a contingency plan at left tackle: Locklear. He went down with a high-ankle sprain in the first half of Seattle's Week 2 loss at San Francisco and won't be ready to play until at least Nov. 1.
That left Seattle blindsided at the position that's relied upon to protect the quarterback's blind side. In Week 3, the Seahawks started Frye, who wasn't even on the team until he was cut by Miami a week before the season began. Now he's gone, too. He lost some feeling after suffering a stinger — a pinched nerve in his neck — and the injury turned out to be more serious. He hopes rest heals the injury, but his season is over.
"He had done a very admirable job for a guy we signed Sept. 6," offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said. "He was actually growing with confidence in each game and to see that happen as early as it did in the first quarter was really frustrating — obviously for him — but also for us.
"You don't normally get a left tackle in September that can perform pretty well. It's a very unfortunate situation."
Unfortunately for Seattle, the situation has occurred at a very valuable position.
"Left tackle is one of the more important positions on the football field," Mora said. "You're protecting a valuable asset. You're protecting the quarterback."
And in Seattle, that means protecting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's sore ribs.
Williams was an undrafted rookie from USC who was cut at the end of training camp in 2007. He went to Arizona with his wife Jana and their daughter Kylie. When the phone stayed silent after his release, Kyle Williams started thinking about his career options in music management. He was scheduled to go work with a family friend at a Hootie and the Blowfish concert in Las Vegas. The Seahawks called the day before he was scheduled to leave, and he has played for the Seahawks ever since.
Williams started the final two games last season, but that was a different situation with a season already sunk. Hope still floats this year in Seattle.
Is Williams more prepared for this opportunity after playing last year?
"Absolutely," he said.
Of course, Williams and the Hawks don't have much choice. After three injuries at the same position, he needs to be ready.
• Cornerback Ken Lucas is in Mississippi, where his father will be buried Friday. Lucas' father died unexpectedly last week. He is expected to return to play against Arizona on Sunday.
• Safety C.J. Wallace is out for this week's game because of a hamstring injury.
• T Walter Jones (knee), T Sean Locklear (ankle), G Rob Sims (ankle) and LB Leroy Hill (groin) are all out.
• WR Nate Burleson (back), DE Patrick Kerney (groin) and CB Travis Fisher (pelvis) were limited in practice.
• Seattle signed guard Mark Lewis, a rookie from Oregon, to its practice squad.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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