Williams gets thrown into competition right away with Seahawks

Nov 1, 2023, 4:39 PM

Seattle Seahawks...

Leonard Williams of the New York Giants sacks Matthew Stafford on Oct. 17, 2021. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For his first introduction into the way the Seattle Seahawks run team meetings, Leonard Williams wasn’t asked to recite his bio or talk about his history.

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He was asked in the middle of Wednesday morning’s gathering to compete in a basketball shooting competition. And won.

“Instead of standing me up and making me introduce myself to the team, he made me come up here and compete with some guys on the basketball rim,” Williams said. “I love it because it breeds competition in here.”

The newest member of the Seahawks spent his first day as an NFL player outside of the New York area on Wednesday. After spending his entire career playing for the Jets or the Giants, Williams was traded on Monday to the Pacific Northwest in the middle of his ninth professional season.

He instantly went from a team headed toward double-digit losses to the leaders of the NFC West that are off to a 5-2 start and have aspirations that go beyond just making the playoffs.

“Anytime you see the team being aggressive, always trying to improve the roster, always trying; even if we’re doing well, they’re trying to find ways to make the team better,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “So it’s a good thing. It’s always we want to win and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. I think that’s cool.”

Williams arrived in Seattle for a second-round pick in 2024 and a fifth-round pick in 2025. It was a hefty price for the Seahawks to pay compared to other deals that happened before the trade deadline, but New York picked up the vast majority of Williams’ salary leaving Seattle to pay only a prorated veteran minimum the rest of the way.

Williams said he appreciated how the trade process happened with Giants general manager Joe Schoen keeping Williams and his representatives informed and involved until the deal was finished.

“I’ve been traded before and it was very abruptly and I kind of had no say or anything like that,” Williams said about his 2019 trade from the Jets to the Giants.

“Where in this situation, my GM kind of came to me and told me that he wasn’t shopping me around but out of respect for me and where I’m at in my career, being a little older he was pretty much letting me know that there was a few teams including Seattle that were on the winning side of the season and kind of make the push this year.”

Williams will join a deep defensive line group for Seattle that includes Jarran Reed, Dre’Mont Jones, Mario Edwards Jr. and a host of edge rushers. The Seahawks have been one of the best teams in the league in stopping the run this season, giving up fewer than 100 yards per game rushing and only 3.57 yards per carry.

Reed, who was Williams’ tour guide around the team facility, said it felt as if Williams was a player who had been with the Seahawks before and was now returning.

“He’s a very humble, cool guy. Fits right in,” Reed said. “Honestly, it feels kind of weird, like he already been here.”

Both Williams and Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the transition in learning Seattle’s defensive scheme should be straightforward with the expectation that Williams will play this week with Seattle facing Baltimore.

“The transition, with a guy like this in particular, there isn’t much space there. He’ll be there tomorrow,” Carroll said. “He’s going to know his stuff, he fits right in, he understands the blocking schemes and the principles. Technically, he’s an amazing player. Just get him lined up right and he’ll do things well.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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• Lefko: Gap closed? How Seahawks, 49ers match up after trade deadline
• Seahawks Football 101: How will Leonard Williams fit into defense?
• Seahawks’ defense continues locking down opponents in second half
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