Wide receiver Tyrell Williams of the Las Vegas Raiders is ready to jump right into the 2020 NFL season, feet first.
Williams signed with the Raiders last season and was expected to form a dynamic duo with Antonio Brown on the other side of the field, but it never materialized, as Brown’s antics led him to be released and Williams was hampered for much of the season by painful plantar fasciitis in both feet.
The 6-4, 205-pound Williams has undergone ongoing treatment on his feet during the offseason and claims he is ready to go.
“Shoot, it’s been a long offseason with my feet,” Williams told Vic Tafur of The Athletic recently. “I did two months after the season of just rehab and resting them. It was still taking a long time and I started getting pretty discouraged, but … um, about two months ago, I finally got over the hump and my feet have been feeling good.
“So I still feel it a little bit, but compared to what I had … it’s nothing compared to what I was going through during the season. And it’s still getting better week-to-week, so I am excited for the season.”
Williams, who played four seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers after they signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon, missed only two games because of the problem with his feet.
Despite the pain, he caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games, and impressed Coach Jon Gruden with his guts.
“I’m really proud of him,” Gruden said. “What you don’t see sometimes is what these guys go through to just get to the game. … Tyrell has done a good job. … But we think he’s an excellent football player; he’s just got to get right.
“We have to go back and I watch him (on tape) in training camp and Week 1 when he was healthy against Denver, and he’s a talented guy. But it’s hard to play when your feet are on fire and his feet were hurting bad. It’s a credit to him to play through it.”
Williams will have to prove that the belongs on the field this season because the Raiders drafted speedy Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and versatile Lynn Bowden Jr., and signed Nelson Agholor in free agency, so the wide receiver room is full.
It certainly wouldn’t hurt if Williams played back to the form he showed in 2016 when he caught 69 passes for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns for the Chargers.
"I am excited about the additions, man,” said Williams, who might have had his best game last season in the opener, when he caught six passes from Derek Carr for 105 yards and a touchdown in a 24-16 victory over the Denver Broncos. “Adding speed and athleticism and that is going to push the guys we have coming back, it’s going to push us all.
“ … Not only will it bring up so much competition, but it’s going to help us have an identity. Last year, we obviously had so much distraction that we never got to have an identity as a receiver room. But this year, we’re going to be able to dial in and make it known who we want to be as a group.”
Williams, who still lives in San Diego, worked out with Carr during the offseason a year ago and he has been to Las Vegas on more than one occasion this year to hook up with his quarterback.
This season, he wants to put his best foot—make that both feet—forward for Raider Nation.
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