The Seattle Seahawks on Saturday promoted receiver Kasen Williams, a former Skyline High and UW star, to the 53-man roster, meaning he could make his NFL debut Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
The Seattle Seahawks on Saturday promoted receiver Kasen Williams to the 53-man roster to take the place of injured tight end Anthony McCoy, meaning the former UW and Skyline High star will likely make his NFL debut Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. McCoy, re-signed earlier this month, suffered a high ankle sprain against Baltimore and is now done for the season.
If Williams indeed plays against the Rams he will complete an unexpectedly circuitous journey to his ultimate football goal, having gone from one of the top recruits in the nation in 2010 to an undrafted free agent following his college career. Williams’ once seemingly certain path to the NFL was thrown off course in large part due to a nasty foot injury suffered in 2013 during his junior season at Washington. He earned an invite to Seattle’s training camp only after participating in a rookie try-out camp.
Williams was a star of Seattle’s training camp, earning a spot on the team’s 10-man practice squad, and finally has earned a promotion as the Seahawks sought to add depth at receiver. The Seahawks played last week with just four receivers on their 53-man roster and have listed Doug Baldwin as questionable for the Rams game with a nagging hamstring issue. Baldwin did not take part in Seattle’s practice this week until Friday, when he was a full participant and coach Pete Carroll said he thought Baldwin would be okay. Still, the team typically plays with at least five receivers on its roster and may want to ease some of the workload off Baldwin as he deals with his hamstring issue. Seattle also lost receiver B.J. Daniels, who had been on and off the 53-man roster much of the season, earlier this week when he signed with the Houston Texans.
Williams had four catches for 58 yards overall in the preseason including a 15-yard touchdown in the preseason finale against Oakland (which interestingly enough was tossed by Daniels).
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Williams was then released and re-signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad.
“If I was to celebrate now it would be like I’m happy to be here,’’ Williams said at the time. “I am happy to be here (on the practice squad) but this isn’t where I want to be. I’ve got better things to accomplish.’’
Williams becomes the third former Washington receiver on Seattle’s 53-man roster joining Jermaine Kearse and Kevin Smith, who also began the year on the practice squad but was promoted on Nov. 17.
Williams finished his UW with 162 receptions, third-most in Husky history. But he had just 20 as a senior in 2014 while still recovering from a broken left fibula and Lisfranc injury in his left foot Oct. 26 2013, against California.
That injury and lack of production as a senior helped lead to Williams going undrafted.
He signed initially as an undrafted free agent with Cincinnati but failed his physical there and then took part in Seattle’s rookie mini-camp as a tryout player. He later signed to Seattle’s 90-man roster for training camp, and now seems set to finally make an NFL debut that seemed a given when he was named as the Parade Magazine All-America Player of the Year in 2011.
“It all happens for a reason,’’ Williams said of the injury. “It brought my hunger back and my dedication to the game back and my love for the game back. I was playing well my entire life, and eventually what happened was I started coasting. And then I got hurt. And then I had to go all the way back to Day One and rebuild my foundation.’’
McCoy played 15 snaps against the Ravens, the only game he played in this season after being re-signed. The Seahawks have three tight ends on the roster in Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet and Chase Coffman.
McCoy missed all of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with Achilles injuries and then was released prior to the 2015 season. After spending some time with Washington he was released and then re-signed by Seattle after the injury to Jimmy Graham.