Looking back on his short NFL career prior to the Seahawks and even shorter collegiate career, Mike Williams has been forced to sit and wait twice. Once in college after following the lead of Maurice Clarett and declaring himself eligible for the NFL Draft, and once again between his forgettable stop in Tennessee and his surprising emergence in Seattle.
When Mike Williams signed an agent in college, he wasn’t breaking any rules, but he was certainly pushing and changing them to fit his own personal gain. Before one judges Williams too harshly for following the lead of one of the biggest wastes of media space in the history of the NFL, Marice Clarett, fans should think about the ability they had in their late teens and early twenties to make good decisions. Now imagine an infinite level of temptation.
The problem wasn’t the mistake Mike Williams made. The problem was the way he reacted to it. Once Williams knew he was going to get paid from the NFL, his motive became strikingly clear: Money.
Williams was playing for a payday, got it, and then he sat on it for a year. I understand that he didn’t actually get paid until the following year after the draft, however, known commodities tend to end up getting paid up front by salivating agents. Remember Lebron James buying a hummer when he was still in High School? They don’t give those to kids who make the honor roll.
Mike Williams got paid early and then found the worst thing a man at his age could find. Too much time.
By the time Williams got to Detroit, he was already done. What he lacked in work ethic, he made up for in attitude. The following 3 seasons, he blew up to a reported 270+ pounds. He was traded, released, picked up, and released in 3 seasons. It looked like his career and perhaps more were finished before they ever got off the ground.
Mike Williams found himself waiting… again. Only this time he approached it differently.
It’s funny how motive can be sucked out by success and fueled by failure. Mike Williams knows this better than anyone right now. He has discovered a new motive: Respect. This motive has the opposite effect of money in that it has no wisps of selfishness or greed. It allows a player to put his team above all other things. It allows him to be a fan favorite and feel like he is a part of something much bigger than himself.
Mike played with a broken finger last Sunday. He had reportedly broke it in practice so badly that the bone popped out. I believe that I heard the quote as Pete Carroll’s and not Mike Williams’. This year isn’t about excuses or reasons why he can’t get it done. This year he is taking credit for his mistakes and giving credit for his spectacular plays. Mike Williams is getting there right now.
In a time when fans are subject to the heart-breaking agony of yet another star falling for all the wrong reasons, Mike Williams is a breathe of fresh air so far, and could not have more support from Seattle fans.
Congratulations Mike Williams on taking your first big steps back into the NFL as well as the favor of its fans.