SEATTLE (AP) — Pete Carroll wasn't kidding when he promised to bring guys in from everywhere, with all kinds of backgrounds, to compete for jobs with the Seattle Seahawks.
Friday, the coach brought aboard wide receivers Mike Williams and Reggie Williams, both former first-round draft picks by other teams who then flopped out of the league. The big wide receivers signed free-agent contracts less than 24 hours after they finished three-day tryouts in Carroll's first Seahawks minicamp.
The 6-foot-5 Mike Williams is the former No. 10 overall draft choice of the Detroit Lions who ballooned to 270 pounds and has been out of the league for two years. He played for Carroll at Southern California through 2003.
He visited USC and his old coach for a pick-me-up in October, before he started working with a personal trainer to get ready for this chance.
"It's like riding a bike — except the bike is a little rusty right now," he said of playing for the first time since Tennessee released him in the early months of 2008.
Reggie Williams, at 6-4, is the former ninth overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars from nearby Tacoma and the University of Washington. He is serving two years of probation stemming from a cocaine possession charge. He has been out of the league for a year.
He says Carroll has already proven to be the same exciting, motivating guy who recruited him out of Lakes High School years ago.
"It's just a gift from God that I'm allowed the second opportunity to play the game that I love, especially in my hometown," he said.
It could become a gift to three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Carroll? For his wide receivers, bigger is better.
"If you look back at our past we love big guys and have had a lot of success with them," Carroll said. "We haven't changed our attitude on that at all."
Both Williamses have plenty of work to do to compete in training camp for playing time. They just got Seattle's playbook on Monday. And playing shape will remain an issue for a while. Mike Williams said that before he began training in October he was doing "nothing, nothing important, nothing I can remember."
Yet their size makes them enticing options for a team that wants to throw the ball downfield more under Carroll's new offense.
"I would say each of them would admit they have a ways to go, but I think they are heading in the right direction — personally and professionally," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said.
Mike Williams was drafted ahead of DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman and Aaron Rodgers early in 2005. But the fed-up Lions dumped him after just 37 catches and 1½ seasons. The Raiders got rid of him after just seven games in 2007. The Titans did the same thing later that season. He played just two games for them.
"I've really embraced every aspect of this — from even just having my name on the back of a jersey," Williams said. "This is definitely a great opportunity. I appreciate the Seahawks, obviously."
Reggie Williams is also 26. Considered a flop after Jacksonville didn't resign him beyond his rookie contract following the 2008 season, he missed all of '09 while in legal trouble.
Last May, he was sentenced to two years of probation for cocaine possession. In that case, an off-duty police officer in Houston used a Taser to subdue him after he allegedly refused to leave a bar.
He's since gotten engaged. He has a son nearly 5 months old, Rush.
"I became a better person, a better man, because of those mistakes," he said Thursday, before he learned he had a contract. "I'm just glad I have the opportunity to be out here and playing. It means everything for me and from my family."
Seattle also signed cornerback Kennard Cox, guard Mitch Erickson and fullback Ryan Powdrell. All were among the 17 free agents who got tryouts in the minicamp.