- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RENTON, Wash. (AP) - There was still a chance for Kevin Williams to return to Minnesota, the only place he knew in his NFL career. There was also a chance to join New England and play for the Patriots.

So why is Williams now wearing a Seattle Seahawks uniform when he potentially could have gotten more money elsewhere?

“I think at the end of the day they are doing some great things with a bunch of young guys,” Williams said. “A chance to play in a great rotation at the defensive line. I think it’s the best fit for me.”

Williams was the latest addition to the Seahawks roster just before the start of this week’s minicamp. After seeing the defensive line thinned by free agency and salary cap cuts following their Super Bowl title, the addition of Williams this late could be a major coup for the Seahawks.


“We always have cherished big guys and there was a spot, we thought, for Kevin. We’ve talked to him for a really long time; we’ve talked to him throughout the offseason with the thought of maybe getting this worked out,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We have tremendous respect for the person that he is, the competitor that he is, the leader that he is. He’s a big man that plays tough. We want him to play good, physical football for us like he always has.”

Though his career, now entering its 12th season, Williams has only known playing for the Vikings. He lived up to the billing of being the No. 9 overall pick in the 2003 draft, becoming a five-time AP first-team All-Pro selection as one of the more dominant interior linemen in the game.

Williams believes he can still contribute. And Seattle is getting him at a bargain of $1.5 million for 2014.

“I try to do it all pretty good. If it’s rush the passer, stopping the run or whatever the case I think I can help out in each way,” Williams said.

Seattle was most attractive to Williams because at age 33 - he’ll turn 34 before the start of the season - he would not have to carry the load anymore. According to Football Outsiders, Williams played 718 defensive snaps last season for the Vikings. Meanwhile, no Seattle player on the defensive line - playoffs included - played more than 600 snaps last season.

Williams said that rotation was something he noticed as an opponent last season when the Seahawks played the Vikings.

“Man, those guys have a nice rotation on defense. They were having fun and you could see it. I think everyone that has watched them play lately can see how much fun they’re having offensively and defensively,” Williams said. “At the end of the day having fun and doing things right ended up in a lot of wins and those guys getting a Super Bowl last year.”

If Williams can match his production from recent seasons, it could lead to more flexibility on Seattle’s defensive line. One of the unique traits of the Seahawks front four the past few season was using big bodied Red Bryant as a defensive end in running situations. Bryant was released following the Super Bowl, leaving Seattle without that bigger option to try and hold the edge against the run.

The addition of Williams could solve that issue. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel has a similar build and skills as Bryant. If Williams can be effective on the interior, Seattle could shift McDaniel to the outside if the need is there.

“Everybody loves what he’s about,” Carroll said. “We had him in earlier in the process, learned about him, studied him, talked to a million people about him and he’s just come out as a great guy to add that brings the big body dimension to us that we can utilize.”

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