Former Skyline and UW star Kasen Williams says he's eager to prove his worth to the Seahawks as he gets another shot on the 53-man roster.
Promoting Kasen Williams to the active roster in the wake of a season-ending injury to Tyler Lockett was “a really logical move for us,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.
It’s easy to see why, considering Williams has been with the Seahawks for almost two full seasons now in one capacity or another, giving him the necessary knowledge of the team’s schemes to make a seamless transition from the practice squad to playing, and has the experience of seeing action in four games in 2015, including both in playoff contests.
Still, Williams’ football career has been full of the unexpected the last few years. So he said he didn’t get excited until he was actually in the team offices signing a contract that made him part of the team’s active 53-man roster for Sunday’s regular season finale at San Francisco.
“I’ve been through a lot to the point where I don’t know what’s going to happen,’’ Williams said Wednesday. “Even though they say something, it’s not official until the papers are signed. So for me I was just continuing to be optimistic and when I got that call I knew I was going to be ready for it.’’
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The bumps in the road for Williams have included a broken leg and displaced foot injury suffered at UW in 2013, failing a physical due to that same injury in the spring of 2015 after signing with Cincinnati after somewhat surprisingly going undrafted, eventually signing with Seattle but only after impressing the Seahawks as a tryout player in rookie mini-camp, and after appearing to be in good shape to make the roster in 2016 then suffering a hamstring injury that limited him to just one pre-season game.
The hamstring injury was the main reason why Williams was waived by the Seahawks in September and then re-signed to the practice squad a few weeks later.
“It was unfortunate,’’ said Williams, adding that one of the most frustrating things is that it wasn’t an overly serious injury but just enough to prevent him from being able to play when he needed to to make the team. “But everything happens for a reason.’’
Once recovered, he showed the Seahawks again on an almost daily basis in practice why they had made him part of the 53-man roster late last season, when he saw action in the last two regular season games (with one catch against Arizona) and both playoff games. But until Lockett’s injury, there simply wasn’t room for another receiver on the roster.
“Kasen has had a terrific year with us, practicing with us, and we’ve been knowing that he would be the next guy up,’’ Carroll said. “He’s ready to play football and has done remarkably well throughout the second half of the season being with us.’’
Williams joins four other receivers on the roster — Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson and Tanner McEvoy.
As the fifth receiver on the roster, Williams’ opportunities figure to be limited this week against San Francisco.
But one thing the last two years have taught Williams is the value of working for everything.
He admitted again Wednesday that there were times earlier in his career when he knew he didn’t necessarily have to work as hard as he could due to his status as a standout high school player at Skyline and then a highly-rated recruit at Washington.
“It’s different not being the best guy on the team,’’ he said. “It’s different when the quarterback is not always trying to get you the ball. It’s like I’ve got to prove to him I’m worthy and prove to the coaches I’m worthy and then I’ve got to do it every day. And then when the opportunity comes in the game I’ve got to take advantage of it.’’
One opportunity he said hopes comes his way is returning kicks, particularly punts.
Lockett handled both kickoff and punt returns. Richardson is likely to take over as the main kickoff returner.
But the punt return job appears a little more uncertain. Cornerback Richard Sherman often works as the backup in warmups and has been back to return the only punts this season that Lockett didn’t handle, including one in the second half Saturday.
But Sherman’s value and workload at cornerback could compel the team to look for other options, as well.
“Richard, if he doesn’t have to be out there then he shouldn’t be out there and he knows that, too,’’ Williams said. “I was talking to him a little bit about it earlier about what I should do, what he should. So we’ll see what’s up.’’