Mike Williams is aiming for a healthy dose of football in Year 2 with Chargers
It’s been nearly a year, but Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams said it doesn’t feel quite that long ago.
He was with family and friends celebrating being selected No. 7 overall in the 2017 NFL draft — a night he’ll never forget.
“You only get this opportunity once,” he remembered thinking. “It was a great experience for me and my family, coming from where I came from.”
But in the nearly 12 months since, there haven’t been many more feel-good moments for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver.
He missed most of the workouts leading to last season because of a back injury. He struggled to get caught up in the offense and develop timing with quarterback Philip Rivers and, as a result, never became a major part of the passing attack.
He caught only 11 passes in 10 games — numbers hampered by yet another injury, this one to his right knee.
“The first year,” Williams said Monday, “it wasn’t what I was expecting.”
And the same goes for the Chargers, who certainly expected more from their top-10 pick.
But Monday, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said no one in the organization looks back at former picks with regrets or misgivings. They look to the future.
“Once we pick a player or sign a player, we’re all in with that guy,” Telesco said. “We’re all invested in him and working with him.”
Williams has been working, too.
Outside of a quick trip to the Bahamas, he’s been striving to get back to full health, and he’s looked strong in early-season conditioning workouts.
“I had a lot of time so it was a lot of time getting treatment and rehabbing a lot. I feel pretty good right now,” he said. “…This offseason was pretty much just me focusing on getting healthy, getting 100 percent for the season.”
Monday, Williams was working with Rivers and the rest of the receivers and tight ends, catching balls and getting in the work he missed last season.
“I feel a lot better than last year to be honest,” Williams said. “I’m feeling pretty healthy. I’m looking forward to getting out here, keep throwing with Philip and the quarterbacks, and get everyone on the same page.”
Before Baker Mayfield’s pro day earlier this spring, a group of Chargers staff — including offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt — met with the Oklahoma quarterback.
Per Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko, the Chargers asked Mayfield to study some of their plays before the meeting.
Apparently, he really didn’t.
“I didn’t look at their playbook as much as I should have,” Mayfield told Sports Illustrated. “It could have gone a little bit better, but at the same time, I’m prioritizing which playbooks I’m going to learn. No offense to them, but I’ve got a lot on my plate.”
Asked about the comments on Monday, Telesco quickly cracked back.
“I’m probably not prepared to comment on that. My plate’s pretty full,” he said. “No offense.”
Wide receiver Tyrell Williams signed his second-round tender Monday morning, putting him under contract for the upcoming season. Telesco also said the plan is for the Chargers to pick up Melvin Gordon’s fifth-year option, keeping him in uniform with the team for at least the next two seasons. … Kicker Caleb Sturgis, who was signed via free agency, said he’s operating at full health after suffering a hip injury that landed him on the injured reserve early last season. Sturgis said he was healthy enough to rejoin the Eagles midseason, but remained inactive. … Telesco said there’s no update regarding free agent Antonio Gates and a return to the Chargers.
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