Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams Tweeted Thursday he has been cleared to return to football after having had surgery for Papillary Type 2 cancer last May.
Defensive tackle Jesse Williams, a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2013 who had surgery for Papillary Type 2 cancer last May, Tweeted Thursday that he has been given medical clearance to play again.
“Finally Got the All clear to return to Football,” Williams Tweeted. ”Now just wait for my Opportunity.”
Williams returned from the surgery to play in the preseason for the Seahawks last year, including making two tackles in the opener against Denver.
But he was placed on the non-football injury list on Sept. 5 and sat out the season.
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He is now an exclusive rights free agent, meaning the Seahawks can retain him by making him a qualifying offer by the start of the new league year on March 9. If not given an offer by the Seahawks then he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Williams has yet to play in an NFL game, missing all of his rookie year in 2013 and then his second season in 2014 with knee injuries.
As Williams explained last August, he began urinating blood regularly last spring which led to tests that led to a diagnosis of Papillary Type 2 cancer, and surgery on May 28 to remove a kidney.
Williams missed each of his first two seasons after knee surgery in training camp. But when the call came that he had cancer — he remembers being with his family at the time that it arrived — the knees felt good and he was preparing to take part fully in the team’s off-season workouts.
Williams said he took the same approach to finding out he needed to have his kidney removed that he did to hearing about the knee surgeries in 2013 and 2014, relying on a philosophy of his coach at Alabama, Nick Saban. Saban tells his players to celebrate a win, or mourn a loss, for 24 hours and then get back to work.
“I pretty much did that with everything I’ve had so far,’’ Williams said. “Cancer, knee injury, anything that comes up I’ve got 24 hours, I’ll deal with it and I’ll come back and I go to work.’’
Williams was taken by the Seahawks with the 137th overall pick in 2013 after what was a rare move up the draft board to get him — Seattle dealt a fifth-round (165) and a sixth-round (199) pick to Detroit to get him.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks’ last preseason games that he marveled at the way Williams had battled back to return to the field.
“All things considered, it’s been a miraculous summer for him,” Carroll said. “To play football under these circumstances and the stress he’s had to deal with, and the uncertainty and all of that, Jesse had a terrific summer. He played good football for us. He demonstrated fantastic resiliency to bounce back from all of the things he’s been through. Even in the last couple of weeks, to play so hard and so tough, I’m really, really proud of him. I thought he did a great job. He’s knocking on the door trying to make this club too, just like everyone else. He fought very gallantly to do that, and most people, I don’t know that they ever respond like he did. It was remarkable. ”