There's more to Mike Williams' tale than the obvious storylines
The Mike Williams story has been told often: He left USC early, washed out of the NFL, then got another chance with the Seahawks. But there's more to the story when you consider the path he took to the NFL, and who he is now.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Oakland, 1:15 p.m.
Mike Williams knows how this will go.
He has told the story plenty of times and read it even more often.
You want to hear about the past, right? His past. How a college receiver with unprecedented success at USC entered the league as a first-round pick, played for three teams in three seasons and washed out of the league before resurfacing in Seattle as the receiver everyone once forecast he would be.
Start out with his attempt to follow Maurice Clarett's early entry into the NFL in 2004. Skip ahead to his selection, No. 10 overall. Add more than 30 pounds or so over the next two seasons, enumerate every shortcoming from his waistline to his work ethic that led to his trade from Detroit and subsequent time in Oakland and Tennessee.
Cap it off with a recitation of his current success in Seattle, and you've got the recipe for a slightly dramatic tale of athletic redemption.
Excuse Williams if he yawns.
"My past is exactly what it is, it's in the past," he says. "It's still something that happened, and people are going to talk about it. That's fine.
"Does it get repetitive? Yeah. But it is what it is."
And it is incomplete because by the end of that story you've spent so much time focusing on who Mike Williams was that you've overlooked who he is, which is hard to do considering this is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound receiver we're talking about.
Someone whose work ethic quarterback Matt Hasselbeck praised last week.
"He's just shown a hunger and a willingness to work and to make plays," Hasselbeck said.
To some he is a cautionary tale, leaving college after just two years at USC. To others, it is a story of entitlement, the No. 10 overall pick in 2005 whose receptions declined in each of his three seasons before he finally washed out of the league for two years.
But in Seattle, Williams is the starting split end and the Seahawks' leading receiver While he might be way past second chances, he is making the most of this opportunity. No Seahawk caught more than 10 passes in any game the previous two seasons. Williams has done it twice in two weeks.
He is married and the father of two beautiful girls. He is 26 and the person everyone always thought he could be. Not just the player, the person.
"I call it a maturity on his part," said Kathy McCurdy of Tampa, Fla. "A huge maturation on his part."
Williams has come a long way since he came to live with the McCurdys at the age of 16 or "joined our family" as Kathy likes to say.
For everyone who has focused on all those reasons Williams washed out of the NFL, it's important to remember how far he came just to get there.
He had been suspended from high school about the time he came to live with the McCurdys. He knew Kathy McCurdy's two sons, and his grandmother had baby-sat when Ali, the McCurdys' daughter, was born.
Kathy remembers a teenager whose personality was a magnet, capable of drawing people if he was in the mood. It could also push people away. As a student, he was suspended for talking back to a teacher, but he could also charm a room full of adults.
"He can be the charismatic, most caring, most awesome individual," she says. "He is the most lovable individual when he's in that place. And he truly seems to be in that place all the time now."
Even now, 10 years later, Williams still is mentioned on the family's voice-mail message, and the family will be at Sunday's game in Oakland, just like they were in the stands at Chicago.
This story is not over. In many ways, it's just beginning. Because for all the talk about what Williams was and the reality of what he is, there is also the question of just what he will be.
"We're going to keep pressing Mike," Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said. "We're not going to award him any awards right now. He's got to come in week by week and keep proving himself to the team, to us and to the rest of the NFL."
• G Ben Hamilton and DE Chris Clemons returned to practice on Thursday.
• DT Brandon Mebane (calf), CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring), CB Walter Thurmond (head), LB Matt McCoy (hamstring), WR Brandon Stokley (oblique) and LT Russell Okung (ankle) did not practice.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
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