Stephen Williams, again when he was the apple of Arizona’s eye. (azcardinals.com)
RENTON, Wash. – The news was not good for the Seattle Seahawks’ hypothetical receiver corps on Tuesday. On the identical say that head coach Pete Carroll instructed the media that number-one target Sidney Rice was in Switzerland undergoing “some sort of knee remedy,” fellow quantity-one goal Percy Harvin announced through Twitter that he would require hip surgical procedure. Rice’s timeline is unknown, although Carroll said he thought Rice would not miss any video games, however Harvin will likely be out for three-four months on the very least, based on initial stories.
How are the Seahawks, seen by many as a entrance-line Super Bowl contender, to cope with all of this roster churn? Fourth-yr man Golden Tate is predicted to step up, and those in attendance at coaching camp may have observed a tall, lanky young man with jersey quantity 83, beating All-Professional cornerback Richard Sherman in pink zone drills with a one-handed catch. Stephen Williams, who went undrafted in the same 2010 class that noticed Tate go in the second cound, was busy adding to a most impressive early camp while the Seahawks have been stressing about their better-known playmakers.
Williams’ story is certainly intriguing. The Arizona Cardinals had a third-round grade on him within the 2010 draft, but grabbed the Toledo alum as an undrafted free agent. Williams impressed his teammates to a fairly ridiculous diploma – defensive finish Bert Berry stated that Williams’ undrafted standing was “insane” and “an absolute crime,” whereas safety Kerry Rhodes instructed the native media that “I have no idea how this kid didn’t get drafted, but he is a beast. Whether he’s going up towards the third crew, the second group or the primary crew, he is a beast.”
Derek Anderson, the group’s main starting quarterback in the first put up-Kurt Warner yr, said that he’d by no means worked with a rookie receiver who looked better, and uber-receiver Larry Fitzgerald actually insisted that in time, Williams could exchange him because the team’s prime man. Fitzgerald is famously sort to his young battery mates, but you’ve never heard him say that about Michael Floyd or Andre Roberts.
So, what happened? Williams went through some ball security points early on, damage his again in Week 5 of his rookie marketing campaign, and suffered a reasonably gruesome Achilles’ tendon harm in August of 2012 (“I tore it proper off the bone,” he informed me on Tuesday). The Cardinals believed that Williams “plateaued” early on, but the fact was, Williams never obtained healthy long enough to indicate what he might do – and catching passes from Arizona’s dumpster fireplace of a quarterback rotation didn’t assist issues. He’s caught 9 passes for one hundred and one yards in his total NFL career, and one would have to have had Williams on one’s radar to consider there was a future.
Seattle normal supervisor John Schneider had Williams on his radar again then, and jumped to signal him to a two-year, $1.2 million contract in January of 2013. Then, it was up to Williams to indicate that he had anything in the tank, and he’s definitely carried out it to this point.
“John liked him early, he saw his run-after-catch ability,” Carroll mentioned on Tuesday, earlier than the Harvin information was identified. “He was a very productive faculty participant, he had over three,000 yards receiving. John appreciated him. Simply his flexibility. I love huge guys. I love to see a guy that can play at 6-foot-5. He’s really quick, he’s doing a fantastic job, and he’s having a wonderful camp. He did well in the OTA [practices], however once we received him out right here, to see him battle with [cornerbacks] Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman and have some success — that’s an enormous statement. We’re actually hopeful that he might be part of this.”
More hopeful now than ever to make certain. Williams was simply as excited concerning the alternative when the Seahawks gave him the decision.
“I remembered John from school, so when I bought the chance to be in the marketplace, I advised my agent to make this happen. It looks as if an incredible opportunity with a young team, and an amazing quarterback on the uprise. I need to be part of it. I all the time thought I used to be going to be right here anyway, so being right here now, and how Pete Carroll is working things – it’s a brand new starting for me. ”
Well, Russell Wilson is certainly a rattling sight higher than the blokes throwing footballs to Williams and his former teammates over the last three years. Wilson has one thing in common with Williams – a chip on his shoulder that may be traced again to a past as an undervalued player. Wilson was chosen in the third spherical of the 2012 draft as a result of he was allegedly too short, and all he did in his first season was tie Peyton Manning’s rookie file for touchdown passes. Doug Baldwin still has a sneer because no group drafted him. Sherman, who Williams beat on what might be a fateful play, received’t shut up about all these teams who let him slide to the fifth round. And when Williams lines up on Sherman’s reverse side, he has to go up towards Brandon Browner, who spent 5 years within the Canadian Soccer League. If Williams feels that he received a brief shrift from the league, he’s bought a whole lot of firm – Carroll loves to gather a majority of these guys.
“It’s great to be around dudes who’re younger, and want to compete, and wish to be great,” Williams mentioned. “We come out here every single day and we’re battling, but after we are within the locker room, it’s nothing however love. I’m just comfortable to be a part of the group.”
Receivers coach Kippy Brown advised me that he’s been greater than a bit of bit impressed with what he’s seen.
“Our scouting employees introduced him in, and I didn’t know a lot about Stephen before he got here,” Brown mentioned. “But I really like his measurement, I love his aggressiveness, I really like the way in which he works, and he’s made quite a lot of performs out right here. He’s still learning the offense – he hasn’t been her as long as some of the other guys – but he’s getting there.”
If Williams ever does “get there,” he gained’t forget the lessons he discovered from Fitzgerald, who taught him by example that irrespective of how nice chances are you’ll be, the downhill slide could be precipitous if you don’t preserve your sport.
“I inform lots of people – you see Fitz, you assume he’s just a freak of nature and a gifted player,” he mentioned. “However he’s received one of many hardest work ethics I’ve ever seen. You see him at that elite stage, and being so consistent throughout these years, and nonetheless working like he’s an undrafted free agent – that was actually groundbreaking for me.”
It’s a stretch to say that Stephen Williams may have a groundbreaking impact on Seattle’s offense, but the door is actually extensive open.