Tyrell Williams working to learn, grow from disappointing Raiders season

Tyrell Williams working to learn, grow from disappointing Raiders season

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hit Tyrell Williams streaking across the field to his right. The veteran receiver powered through a tackle, regained firm balance and turned toward the end zone. Williams' path was so free and clear that the normally subdued pass-catcher started high-stepping from 20 yards out.

He cruised into the end zone and opened the scoring in an emotional Oakland Coliseum finale. Williams was, in a word, amped. The emotion wore off and a sinking reality sunk in.

His feet started hurting. Again. A painful, nagging bout of plantar fasciitis just wouldn’t leave him alone, not even for a brief moment in the sun.

“[High stepping] was a mistake,” Williams said. “I probably shouldn’t have done that because my feet were pretty sore after. It was nice to get back in there and get a little bit of positivity going.”

That moment sums up Williams’ season well. One step forward consistently met by two steps back.

Williams was given a four-year, $44 million contract to work opposite Antonio Brown in the pattern. He was widely considered a top tier No. 2 but ended up the top option after AB went nuclear.

The new title, and all the additional coverage that comes with it, didn’t fit Williams well this season. He only has 38 receptions for 569 yards and six touchdowns, with just one score since October. Drops have been an issue, especially in key moments. He had two costly miscues during a fourth-quarter comeback attempt against the Houston Texans, another against the New York Jets and another in a sequence that led to Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself, so I don’t let it bring me down or carry over,” Williams said. “It is what it is. I want to make those plays. Everybody wants me to make those plays. I’m able to get rid of it quickly and move on.

“It has just been a lot, with the injuries that have built up. I’m not feeling like myself. That’s the biggest thing, just trying to get over that.”

Williams knows this season hasn’t gone well but is finding ways to learn and grow from the experience.

“Things obviously didn’t go how I wanted, but I believe it will help my career,” Williams said. “Just getting through a rough season personally, with the injury and all the drops and all that is something I’m going to work on extensively this offseason. It’s definitely going to make me a stronger player, a better player. I’m looking forward to these last two games and the opportunity to put something together to vault me into the offseason.”

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Williams has two games left, including Sunday’s rematch with the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson. He’d like to get right against his former team and end things on a high note.

He’s still dealing with foot problems that have plagued him since Week 2 and cost him some games before midseason. Williams isn’t one to make excuses. He never once let on that his feet still impacted him after returning to the lineup even though it might’ve quieted a fan base clearly impatient with his play. Williams has been managing pain all season, with medication on game day and extensive treatment during the practice week.

“There were a couple of weeks where I got down,” Williams said. “I had never really been hurt like that before, and I leaned on guys in the league and family, for sure. Coach Gruden was also great. He challenged me to keep building and keep working. The receiver room always showed confidence in me, so it was about focus and getting healthy and ready to play.”

Now Williams will be focused on finishing strong and getting back healthy for next season with the Raiders. He’s no lock to return, with the team able to void his contract without any dead money against the cap or guaranteed money owed the 27-year old receiver.

Time will tell if he moves to Las Vegas with the team, but Williams is set on improving upon a down year affected by an injury that prompted some lackluster play.

“I am excited to get next year here,” Williams said, “where I am healthy and feeling more like myself.”

Second Raiders stadium site worker tests positive for coronavirus


Second Raiders stadium site worker tests positive for coronavirus

A second person working at the Allegiant Stadium construction site tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to stadium officials commissioned to build the Raiders a new venue just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Mortensen-McCarthy, a joint venture leading the stadium construction effort, issued a statement Wednesday announcing the finding.

The statement, sent to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other local media, said the company was notified Tuesday of the positive test. The worker, according to Mortensen-McCarthy, was on site for one week before leaving on April 2, prior to experiencing symptoms.

The company said the infected worker wasn’t close to others due to social-distancing measures implemented on the construction site. The worker is self-isolating and won’t return to work until medically cleared to do so. The company said the area where the worker was assigned was shut down and thoroughly sanitized.

The stadium site has strict guidelines for workers on site and sanitizing protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus for workers.

The first COVID-19 case from a stadium site worker was announced on March 25.

While Nevada has issued a stay-at-home directive, construction is considered an essential business and has continued despite the coronavirus pandemic.

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Allegiant Stadium is still expected to be ready for the 2020 Raiders season should it start on time. The coronavirus pandemic has put sports on hold, with no timeline for return. The NFL, however, currently is planning to start the season as scheduled.

The Raiders are set to play their first season in Las Vegas after spending previous seasons in Oakland and Los Angeles.

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NFL rumors: Ex-Raider DeAndre Washington, Chiefs agree to contract terms

NFL rumors: Ex-Raider DeAndre Washington, Chiefs agree to contract terms

DeAndre Washington reportedly is no longer a Raiders running back, but his old team will see him often in the 2020 NFL season. He agreed to a contract with the rival Kansas City Chiefs, Yahoo! Sports' Terez Paylor reported Tuesday citing a source, keeping the tough runner in the AFC West.

It also reunites Washington with great friend and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whom he played with at Texas Tech.

Washington served the Raiders well over the course of his rookie contract. The 2015 fifth-round draft pick was a steady reserve capable of shouldering a larger load if asked, a point he proved after Josh Jacobs was shut down late last season with a shoulder injury.

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He had 40 carries for 162 rushing yards and a touchdown in two straight games as a starter. Washington wasn’t expected back in 2020, with the Raiders looking for a different rushing style in reserve.

Washington and Jalen Richard are of similar stature and while they aren’t identical players, a greater contrast obviously is of benefit.

Washington enters a solid situation with the defending Super Bowl champs. Damien Williams is returning but LeSean McCoy is not, meaning there should be carries to earn with the Chiefs, even if he remains a secondary option.

All told, Washington had 282 carries for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns in his Raiders career.

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The Raiders carry on with Jacobs, Richard and Rod Smith as the primary options at running back. Another runner could be added in the NFL draft.