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Originally published April 15, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Page modified April 16, 2010 at 11:24 AM

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Seahawks sign former USC receiver Mike Williams

Williams was one of 17 players participating in a recent minicamp on a tryout basis. Of those 17 tryouts, two signed contracts according to NFL.com: Williams and fullback Ryan Powdrell.

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — The Seahawks wanted a big receiver.

Just not too big.

As such, the magnitude of Mike Williams was a question entering the Seahawks' minicamp. The former first-round draft pick has weighed as much as 270 pounds while in the NFL — pretty heavy for a tight end and positively enormous for a receiver.

But Williams arrived for his tryout in Seattle weighing 235 pounds and played his way to a contract with the Seahawks, according to the NFL's official Web site.

Seattle had 75 players at the three-day minicamp. Williams was one of the 17 participating on a tryout basis, as the Seahawks did everything but check the recycling bin in search of able-bodied contributors.

Of those 17 tryouts, two signed contracts according to NFL.com: Williams and fullback Ryan Powdrell. Both attended USC, where they played under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Reggie Williams, former Washington Huskies receiver, also participated in a tryout. His agent did not return a message asking if the Seahawks signed Williams, and the team gave no indication it had.

Powdrell was added to a position of need, as Owen Schmitt is the only fullback currently on Seattle's roster. Williams fits a different niche.

"Historically, if you look back on our past, we love big guys," Carroll said, "and have a lot of success with them and haven't changed our attitude about that at all."

The question now is whether Williams can change the trajectory of his career, with his fourth team in five seasons.

He played two seasons at USC, catching 81 passes as a freshman in 2002 and 95 passes as a sophomore. He scored 30 touchdowns in two years.

Williams declared for the draft after his sophomore year, on the heels of a legal case in which Ohio State's Maurice Clarett challenged the rule prohibiting players from entering the draft after two years of college.

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A judge initially ruled the NFL could not bar Clarett from entering the draft. Williams then declared as well. But Clarett's case was reversed upon appeal, and Williams was thereby prevented from entering the draft. And because he had hired an agent, he could not return to USC.

After spending a year out of football, Williams was chosen No. 10 overall by the Lions in 2005. He played two seasons in Detroit before being traded to Oakland in 2007. He didn't make it through the second month of the season, getting cut in October and signing with the Titans in November. It was reported he weighed about 270 pounds while with the Titans.

Williams did not play in the league last year, and his weight had become a punchline. When it was reported Williams would try out with the Seahawks, fans in Detroit were eager to know what he weighed in at. The answer: 235.

"And that's even heavy for me," Williams said Wednesday. "I've been lighter than that in recent weeks."

For comparison's sake, what did he weigh last year?

"A lot," Williams said. "I've been fighting this weight thing for forever, and I learned something from LeBron James. He gets the same thing. He never speaks on it, so I'm just going to be real general and say, a lot."

This week he weighed a lot less, and he showed up in the kind of shape that convinced the Seahawks he was worth giving a chance to make the team.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

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