After a highly anticipated and promising career turned into a train wreck and a failure, it seemed that Mike Williams was done. But after a two year absence from the game, it looks like Williams is back.
For Williams, the story begins at the University of Southern California, where he wasted no time in proving himself to be among the nation's best.
When he first entered USC, he was an immediate starter. The former high school All-American from Tampa, Florida set Pac 10 freshman records for receptions, yards, and touchdowns, with 81, 1256, and 14 respectively.
For this he was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the year for 2002. He was also a Freshman All-American, 2nd team all Pac-10, and All-American Honorable Mention selection.
Williams continued his success into 2003, catching 95 passes for 1,314 yards and 16 touchdowns, en route to being selected a Consensus All-American and First-Team Pac-10 choice. He was even chosen as the CBS Sportsline.com National Player of the Year.
That same year, Williams played a monumental role in USC’s split National Championship with LSU. USC was denied a spot in the BCS Championship game, but after a solid defeat of the Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl, they were able to take the number one spot in both the AP and Coaches Polls.
If it were not for Williams’ production, they likely would not have been able to pull of such an impressive feat. By this time, Williams had made it clear that he was more than ready to take a crack at the NFL. This is where things start to get complicated.
In 2004, Williams declared himself available for the NFL Draft. After receiving permission from a federal judge, Williams began his NFL training, as well as the Combine and other workout processes.
However, when the NFL brought the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the decision was overturned. Williams was now ineligible for the NFL Draft.
Making things worse was the fact that he could not return to college either. Being that he had already started the NFL evaluation process and had hired an agent, as well as having already left college, Williams could no longer return to the Trojans for his junior season.
Instead, he was forced to sit at home for the entirety of 2004, having been barred from even practicing with his former college squad.
After a year of seclusion from the public spotlight, Williams entered the 2005 NFL Draft and was selected tenth overall by the Detroit Lions. This was the beginning of a series of failed attempts at success for the young receiver.
His stay in Detroit only lasted from 2005 to 2006. He only scored two touchdowns during this time span. In addition, he managed just 37 catches and 449 yards.
Following a couple of mediocre seasons with the Lions, Williams was traded to the Oakland Raiders. But his return to Southern California did not bring him any more success than before.
He spent just one season in Oakland, where he only managed seven receptions, 90 yards, and did not see the end zone. He did not even last the whole 2007 season. About halfway through the season, he was released by the Raiders.
Soon after, he was signed by the Tennessee Titans, for whom he played for a mere two games. By then, his weight had skyrocketed to 271, and as a result received little playing time. He lost 30 pounds during the offseason, but was once again released.
Now we fast forward to the present, with Williams suiting up with yet another team. A two-year break has given him the time that he needed to sort out his life and get things back on track.
Williams has been working hard to get back into football form, and was rewarded with a one-year contract to play with the Seattle Seahawks.
By signing a rejuvenated Williams, the Seahawks are getting a boost to a passing game that was already ranked 15th in 2009. With the addition of a receiver with the potential and talent of Mike Williams, Seattle now has the opportunity to become an elite offense.
While there are other burning issues that need to be addressed, signing Mike Williams is a major plus for the Hawks. He is a tremendous athlete with great upside and a superb set of hands.
The Seahawks needed a big-time pass catcher to compliment T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Williams, a massive target standing tall at 6’5," has the potential to be just that.
However, there is no guarantee with Williams, as he didn’t exactly pan out the first time. Regardless, the fact that he was once such a phenomenal player gives you some reason to believe that he can reach that level once again.
Only time will tell whether or not the Williams-signing was a smart decision or just another move by a struggling team, desperately trying to achieve glory once again.
Some say the odds are stacked against him, but I think that Mike Williams will succeed this time around. He may not accomplish what the Lions expected of him when they drafted him back in 2005, but I feel that he can still be a valuable contributor to a team that is in dire need of a playmaker.
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