Defensive tackle Kevin Williams had just completed his 11th season with the Minnesota Vikings and was wondering where he would play the next season, or even if he would. Right tackle Justin Britt was preparing for the scouting combine after helping the University of Missouri advance to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in the school’s second season in the conference.
Little did they know they would end up being teammates and contribute significantly to the Seattle Seahawks’ 12-4 regular season.
Williams didn’t sign with the Seahawks until June 12, and said, “To be honest, I was enjoying the summer. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to play and figured the right call would come. But I also was comfortable knowing that if it’s time to go home, it’s time to go home. I wasn’t scared to go home and be a daddy and be a husband.”
But the call came from the Seahawks and also coincidentally the New England Patriots, but Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett steered him there.
Williams acknowledged, “He basically just said, ‘Come on over. I have been watching you throughout your career and you do some great things. I think you really can help us and we are going to try to get back to the Super Bowl.’ I don’t think he lied to me. He sold me on the pitch.”
Still, it was an adjustment for Williams, who had been to six Pro Bowls with the Vikings. There wasn’t a starting job available and he had to accept the role given him.
As Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said of signing Williams, “That was a huge get. He’s a terrific guy; we knew what we were going to get from the person. But, we told him, ‘This will be a different role for you.’ He was coming to where he wasn’t going to be a starter and just be part of the rotation.”
The 34-year-old Williams did just that for the first nine weeks of the season until nose tackle Brandon Mebane suffered a torn hamstring against theNew York Giants on Nov. 9. Suddenly, it was time for Williams to step up.
As Quinn said, “He had played a lot of 3-technique, but then when Brandon got hurt, he came through for us in a huge way to step in and play nose tackle. He has been a huge impact.”
Williams started the last seven games of the regular season as well as Seattle’s two playoff games.
It’s notable to recall the words of head coach Pete Carroll the day after Mebane was injured and the day before he was placed on injured reserve to end his season: “I mean, there is nobody like Mebane. He’s a unique player. He’s had, I think, the best season he’s had since we’ve been here — most consistent. So that’s a big hit to take. But our guys that go in play good football, too, so we will expect them to play up and maintain the level.”
Williams surely has, and now he finds himself on pro football’s biggest stage. He said, “I was rotating everywhere. Now I’m locked into a spot and I can get a lot more comfortable doing it. But being here is definitely a blessing. You see so many guys that are great and get so many accolades but never get to this game. It’s a blessing and it will be more of a blessing to win.”
Concluded Quinn, “I have real appreciation for him; I’m happy he’s going through this. In this profession where we all run across the good guys, I can say, that’s a great dude. That’s Kevin.”