Former Detroit Lions WR Mike Williams Signs with CFL’s Argonauts

Al Dannity | Updated May 24, 2013


It’s been a long fall for Mike Williams, one that appeared to be over when he had a mini-resurgence in Seattle. Al Dannity reports on how the former Matt Millen bust is looking for a fresh start with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

That was…unexpected. The Mike Williams story is one that began brightly, flamed out under Matt Millen’s mess in Detroit and appeared set on the road to NFL redemption. The comeback however never quite panned out so now Williams is trying out in a new home, with the Toronto Argonauts.

A first-team All-American with USC, and an impressive 8th place finish in Heisman voting, propelled Williams into the first round of the draft in 2004. There was just one problem, he wasn’t eligible. As soon as Williams hired an agent he became ineligible to play for the Trojans the following season but the lack of playing time did no damage to his draft stock. In 2005 Williams became the third wide receiver drafted by the Lions in the first round in as many years. Williams arguably fared the worst of them all.

After a subdued rookie season, Williams hardly saw the field in his second year in Detroit and when he did he had a tendency to drop the ball. This was not the same play that carved up the Pac-10, as it was then, under Pete Carroll’s tutelage. The receiver was then traded from one madhouse to another as he joined the Raiders in 2007. A drop in a critical situation against the Titans proved to be his undoing as the Raiders cut him mid-season. Ironically it was the Titans who picked him up, only to find Williams was overweight and they only activated him for two games. Williams didn’t make a catch in either. At the end of the year he looked washed up, with just 44 catches for 539 yards in his three seasons.

After two years out of the NFL, redemption came in the form of his old mentor. Carroll, recently appointed head coach in Seattle, signed Williams and he put in a career year in 2010. With 65 catches for 751 yards, Williams finally looked like a legitimate receiver. Not the weapon he could have been but a useful option for any team. Sadly it was not to last. Despite suiting up for 12 games in 2011, Williams could only manage 18 catches for 236 yards. The Seahawks released him and that, it appeared, was the end of the story.

Yet here we are, just weeks away from the new CFL season and this former Trojan isn’t giving up. Signing with the CFL champions isn’t the same as getting a contract in the NFL but it’s one more opportunity for Williams to prove himself. He has a chance in a whole new environment to show what he can do when given the opportunity. Training camp for the Argos is going to be more interesting than usual this year.