The allure of playing in his hometown and a chance at redemption has this former NFL player looking to earn a job with the Seattle Seahawks.
Former University of Washington product Reggie Williams has been invited to try out with the Seahawks during next week’s voluntary veteran minicamp, which begins Tuesday.
He’ll join a person he’s familiar with in Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. The University of Southern California, where Carroll coached before coming to Seattle, was one of Williams’ final five schools before he ultimately chose the Huskies.
“I think it’s great,” Williams said about joining Carroll’s Hawks. “Any time you have a chance to bring in a great coach like coach Carroll is a great thing for your program. He’s done it in the pros, he’s done it at the college level and now he’s back there doing it again.”
Williams, 26, will be one of a handful of tryout players working through drills at the team’s headquarters in Renton next week.
The Lakes High product was drafted ninth overall in 2004 by the Jacksonville Jaguars – one of three receivers, along with Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Dallas’ Roy Williams, picked in the top 10 overall.
However, Williams failed to live up to the high expectations thrust upon him as a top-10 pick for the Jaguars. He played five years for Jacksonville, with his best season coming in 2006, when he finished with 52 catches for 616 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Williams opted out of his contract and became a free agent after the 2008 season, but was twice arrested for drug possession in separate incidents in his offseason home of Houston.
While charges from the first incident in February 2009 – a DWI and a possession of marijuana charge – were dropped, Williams received two years’ probation for the second charge, stemming from an incident in April 2009 when a small bag of cocaine was found on him after an altercation with police officers at a Houston nightclub.
Williams also was arrested for marijuana possession while with the Jaguars in January 2006.
Williams counts 2009 as one of the toughest years he endured, not playing football for the first time since the first grade. He said that the time was made easier by the birth of he and fiancée Brandie Wilkins’ first child, Rush, in November.
“Me, personally, you just learn from it and become a better person,” Williams said. “When you make a mistake you just learn from it and become a better man, a better father and a better husband overall, and just keep pressing on.
“It’s definitely in my past. It was unfortunate that it happened. But it happened, and I have (owned) up to it, and I’m trying to come out of it. … It was a great time and a sad time, but I loved it.”
Dave Miller, Williams’ football coach at Lakes, said he keeps in regular contact with Williams, and that his former player may have lost his way.
“Sometimes you have to love some people through tough times,” Miller said. “I think some things have happened in the last six months, and I think that has helped him see some things. And I think he’s just ready for another opportunity to do things right.
“There’s no question in my mind that if he’s focused and in shape that he will do very well.”
Williams said he’s in shape and ready to go.
“I really feel good about my conditioning,” he said. “I have been getting myself strong, working on my routes and my quicks and everything corresponding to football, and I feel like a better athlete now.”
With Seattle still interested in Denver Broncos restricted free agent Brandon Marshall, Williams, at 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, would give Seattle another big body at receiver along with newcomer Ruvell Martin.
Williams said there were other teams in the mix, but he ultimately decided on a return to Seattle, a place where he starred at the University of Washington, setting records for receptions (243) and receiving yards (3,598) and earning All-Pac-10 honors his sophomore and junior seasons.
“There’s always been intrigue, growing up there and watching guys like Steve Largent,” Williams said about coming to Seattle, “and you just want to be a part of something great like that.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437