NFL Playoffs: The Incredible Return Of Seahawks WR Mike Williams

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIJanuary 10, 2011

Seahawks WR Mike Williams has finally found a home in the NFL with Seattle.
Seahawks WR Mike Williams has finally found a home in the NFL with Seattle.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

It was reported that at one time, he had ballooned from 230 to 271 pounds. He was a firstst round pick, who in five years, was on his third NFL squad. 

As a sophomore at USC, he challenged the NFL itself for the right to enter into its annual professional football draft only two years removed from finishing high school, when the NFL already had a stance that only players three years after finishing high school could enter into the league.

Mike Williams had it all.

In two amazing seasons at USC under Head Coach Pete Carroll, Williams accomplished what most wide receivers would never do in four years: 176 catches in 26 games for over 2500 yards receiving and 30 touchdown receptions, and a host of top flight individual awards, including Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2002 and First team All-Pac-10 in 2003.

Williams was also a 2003 Consensus First-team All-American and a Fred Biletnikoff award finalist, which is awarded to the best wide receiver in college football.

As a sophomore, he was considered a sure fire first round pick, but according to the NFL's rules, he could not declare for the NFL Draft until he had at least three years since he graduated from high school.

When Ohio State Running Back Maurice Clarett declared for the NFL Draft as a sophomore, Williams followed and the NFL appealed and won the initial ruling from a Federal judge. Because Williams had already declared and signed an agent, he lost his chance to return to USC for his Junior season and had to sit out a year.

By 2005, questions surrounded whether Williams was still the same player after sitting out one entire season. He was taken 10th overall in the 1st round by the Detroit Lions, where in 2 seasons, he caught 37 passes for 449 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Before the start of the 2007 season, Williams was traded to the Oakland Raiders and after seven games was cut. 

Less than one month later, weighing in at 271 pounds, Williams was on his third team in as many years, signing with the Tennessee Titans and reuniting with his former offensive coordinator at USC, Norm Chow.

In July of 2008, Williams' NFL Career was all but over.

Overweight and out of shape, Williams had just been but by his third NFL team in five seasons, and his second team in less than a year.

Then Pete Carroll happened.

After two full seasons out of the NFL, and long forgotten, Mike Williams was signed by the Seattle Seahawks, who were now under the direction of Williams' former coach at USC, Pete Carroll. 

Looking slimmer (235) and quicker, Williams made enough of an impact in the preseason and made the team. He was named as one of the starting wide receivers for the Seahawks and in his first start of the 2010 season against the San Francisco 49ers, Williams finished with four catches for 64 yards.

Despite injuries at the quarterback position, Williams has set career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns. Three times this season, he went over the double digit mark in catches, and in Saturday's NFC Wild Card playoff game against the defending Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans Saints, Williams finished with five catches for 68 yards, including a 38 yard touchdown reception that extended Seattle's lead to 31-20 in the 3rd quarter. 

Mike Williams story is truly one of the best feel good stories of the 2010 NFL Season. From 271 pounds and three teams in four seasons for a former top 10 pick, Williams has finally found a home in the NFL, and Seattle is sure glad to have him.