A continuing story for Seahawks' Mike Williams
The wide receiver signed a three-year deal after last season's breakout year, but with new components in Tarvaris Jackson, Sidney Rice and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, he is not sure what to expect in 2011.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Denver,
6 p.m., Ch. 5
RENTON — Don't call it a comeback, Mike Williams has been here a year.
The story line isn't nearly so simple for Williams' second season as a Seahawk. The question is no longer whether he can reclaim his football career, but how far he can take it.
He was the feel-good story of last season's Seahawks. The former first-round pick who had spent two seasons unemployed only to rebound from that abyss to a starting job, 65 catches and a three-year extension. It was a tidy little tale of perseverance and determination that detailed the 30-some pounds he lost, mentioned his always impressive size at 6 feet 5 and praised his more professional approach to coaching. The result was a story that fit neatly into the traditional trilogy of an athlete's rise, precipitous fall and ultimate redemption.
Except the comeback wasn't the conclusion to Williams' story.
"It's just a start," Williams said. "Just a start. Two touchdowns is not that big of a deal. And that's just how I feel."
There were lots of statistics Williams could have recited. He caught 65 passes in 2010,21 more than in his first three years after the Lions chose him 10th overall in the 2005 draft. He started 13 games for the Seahawks last season, and caught 10 or more passes three times.
Yet, he not only chose the single least impressive statistic of his entire season, but then made light of the several times he was tackled inside the opponent's 5-yard line.
"If there's a getting-tackled-at-the-1 Pro Bowl, I definitely would have been first ballot for that," he said.
He's 27 now, holding the same starting position he did a year ago. It's everything around him that changed, from the quarterback to the coordinator to the addition of two Pro Bowl targets in the offense.
"I'm still trying to find my place and find my role in this offense," Williams said.
Darrell Bevell is calling the plays now, Tarvaris Jackson replaced Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller were added to the starting lineup. It isn't a question of whether Williams will be comfortable after last season's success so much as how he will become acclimated to the new surroundings.
How will Williams respond after the Seahawks have deepened their pool of talent among receiving targets?
"Sidney here obviously pushes me to want to play better to not kind of fall in the background so to speak," Williams said. "I'm going to keep pushing myself, and we'll see what happens."
When Williams signed a three-year contract extension at the end of last season, it was a significant moment for the player and the franchise's tenure under coach Pete Carroll. Not only did it show Williams had earned a place in the Seahawks' future, but that the franchise was willing to reward someone who made the most of a second chance or in Williams' case, a fourth opportunity.
Williams played on three teams in his first three years in the NFL; that's now history that doesn't affect anything but his career statistics. The reset button was hit the minute he arrived in Seattle.
"Last season was kind of his rookie season and he just started," Carroll said. "All the things that went on before didn't really factor in or matter."
Williams showed last season that he wouldn't be defined by the labels that were affixed to him after he washed out of the league. The comeback was a nice story, but it wasn't the conclusion because the next chapter is about to get under way.
"There's a chance that Mike could really take a big step and really be a consistent factor on our team," Carroll said. "We're counting on it."
• The Seahawks released defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, a former first-round draft choice by San Francisco. The Seahawks acquired Balmer last year in exchange for a sixth-round choice in the 2011 draft. Balmer began last season as a reserve, but started 11 games for Seattle in 2010, first playing defensive tackle and then moving to the five-technique defensive end position after Red Bryant was lost for the year. The Seahawks re-signed running back Vai Taua to fill the spot vacated by Balmer.
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries
The Morning Memo
The Morning Memo jump starts your day with weather, traffic and news
Career Center Blog