Three months ago Seattle Seahawks defense tackle Jesse Williams was just another football player trying to come back from serious injuries. Then came the terrible news that he had more than just his knees to worry about: Williams was diagnosed with liver cancer, and shortly thereafter underwent surgery. Needless to say, his career was once again in jeopardy.
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Three months ago. It was that recently that the 2013 5th-rounder was unsure if he’d ever take the field again. Unsure if he was about to face a fight for his life. That was three short months ago. Today, Williams suited up and participated in preseason practices.
This news, of course, comes as somewhat of an unexpected development. Williams’ timetable was always unclear, but when the injury is of the non-football variety it can become even harder to tell just how long a guy will be sidelined. The fact that his “injury” was “type 2 papillary cancer” made it all the scarier. It’s almost completely unbelievable. Three months ago! And now he’s back!
Once the cancer was discovered, Williams underwent surgery to have a kidney removed. He said at the time that he was “going to focus on my health and fighting this battle with a return to football as my ultimate goal.” But he also acknowledged that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play football this year. There was every reason to expect an extended – if not indefinite – absence from the sport. Yet here he is, today.
It’s been a rough ride for Williams ever since the ‘Hawks drafted him out of Alabama two years ago. A standout DT in college, Williams spent his entire rookie season in the NFL on injury reserve with a knee injury. He missed his entire sophomore season, too, but re-signed after being waived by the Seahawks in the offseason. Now that his knee’s alright and he’s cancer-free, Williams will look to finally break into the NFL.
Williams’ story is an utterly inspirational one. He’s kept chasing his dream and beating the odds despite an onslaught of bad luck and adversity. He’s going to have to fight for a roster spot, but if he can beat cancer while overcoming career-threatening injuries, who’s to say he can’t make this team? Williams hasn’t yet done it all, but he has done a whole hell of a lot more than most people ever will.
Jesse Williams is in good physical shape. His knees are back to full functionality and his body is cancer-free. He’s over two years removed from signing his initial contract, but hopes to finally get his career going this fall. I think it’s safe to say that the entire city of Seattle will be firmly in his corner.