BY Doug Farrar 06:44PM 01/03/2011

Williams agrees to three-year extension

Seahawks receiver transcends earlier “draft bust” label, does everything right with a second chance, and comes out the other end with a new deal.

Seahawks receiver Mike Williams eludes cornerback Bradley Fletcher of the St. Louis Rams (Drew McKenzie/Sportspress Northwest)

Who says you never get a second chance to make a first impression?

Receiver Mike Williams, who spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons out of the NFL after becoming one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory with the Detroit Lions, has signed a three-year extension. In what essentially amounted to a full-year tryout for his college coach, Pete Carroll, the USC alum proved that he was a different person on and off the field.

Terms were not disclosed.

Selected by the Matt Millen-era Lions with the 10th overall pick, Williams was an absolute disaster in his first go-round in the NFL. He caught 29 passes for 350 yards and one touchdown in his rookie campaign, then drift among Detroit, Tennessee, and Oakland over the following two seasons. In 2007, his first NFL career ended with the Raiders, when he caught seven passes for 90 yards before Oakland cut him loose. Williams ballooned to 280 pounds and seemed destined to become a cautionary tale.

After two years of rehabilitation and reflection, Williams had one last shot to turn it around when Carroll gave him the opportunity for a roster spot. Carroll wasn’t expecting much – he said it at the time, and he’s recalled as much since — but Williams fought his way onto the starting receiver rotation with speed, ability, size, and sheer desire to make good.

“It came up in conversation probably mid-season,” Williams said of the team’s desire to extend his involvement with the organization. “But my camp didn’t want to push it … we wanted to back up a little bit and try to get a good season going.”

Mission accomplished. Williams quickly became a target of choice for whichever Seahawks quarterback might be under center at any given time. Perhaps his most impressive performance was against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, when he caught 11 passes for 145 yards despite a broken finger. He finished the 2010 season with 65 catches for 751 yards and two touchdowns, obliterating all of his previous totals.

“It’s a statement on a couple different directions,” Carroll said Monday of the new deal. “Mike has come back for real, and he’s made it to the point where he’s instilled the confidence in him to go ahead and keep him around for a good while. And he’s still just getting started. None of us know the impact of being out two years … he has not been consistently involved in the competitive arena like you would like.

“But, we’ve seen terrific signs from him – his character and his will to be a terrific football player is really here at hand. So, I think that Mike has received this idea really well. He understands. (The deal) is structured well, so Mike understands that he needs to keep working, keep doing things right, keep his world in order..”

Carroll also said that the deal tells other players the rewards of competitiveness.

“I hope it’s a very obvious statement. I hope it’s a clear statement of guys fighting for who they are and what they want to become. There’s nothing more powerful than that kind of will behind a guy’s effort. So we want to make sure that that’s clear … hopefully this will ring loud and clear for a lot of people in the program.”


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