In an exclusive interview on the Silver and Black Today show on Raider Nation Radio 920, injured Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams says he’s healthy and wants to return to the team for 2021 season.
For the first time in his career, the Las Vegas Raiders Tyrell Williams has been away from football and it hasn’t been easy. Williams, who missed the 2020 Raiders season due to a torn labrum injury he suffered during training camp, joined us on the Silver and Black Today show on Raider Nation Radio 920 to talk about his rehab and desire to remain in the Silver and Black.
“My rehab has been awesome,” Williams said from his home in San Diego. “My shoulder feels great and I’m pretty close to a full 100-percent. I probably have a couple months but I’m feeling really good.”
The Raiders Tyrell Williams also said his feet have held up well and were good going through training camp until the shoulder injury.
Williams, who put up a solid 42 receptions, 651 yards, and six touchdowns in 2019 while missing two games with a nagging plantar fasciitis (foot) injury, has made $21 million as a Raiders player but hasn’t been able to contribute as much as anticipated due to his health. The Raiders signed Williams to a four-year $44 million contract in 2019.
Of course, I want to be with the Raiders and it sucks I got hurt this year and wasn’t able to go play and that kind of narrative took off that I wasn’t happy. That was nothing that ever came from me. – Raiders WR Tyrell Williams
The Raiders drafted big-bodied wide receiver Bryan Edwards from South Carolina in the 2020 draft to eventually play the X WR spot and has struggled to stay on the field due to injury and hasn’t been targeted despite significant snaps over the past five weeks.
Despite the fact the Raiders can release Williams and save $11 million in salary cap space, the receiver likes the organization and remains committed to being a Raider.
Williams also understands the NFL is a business and the Raiders have a nicely built wide receiver room including the addition of veteran Nelson Agholor. Agholor has been the team’s leading wide receiver for Las Vegas this season and is playing on a one-year, $900,000 contract.
“Of course I want to be with the team,” Williams said. “As long as they want me I’ll be there and ready to go. Obviously, in the NFL things happen and I’d have no hard feelings no matter what happens but of course I want to be there.”
Why Williams Removed Raiders Mentions from Social Media Accounts
Many Raiders fans called out the end for Williams in Las Vegas based on him removing all mentions of the team on his social media accounts. It was believed once he hit injured reserve and missed the season, his career with the Raiders was over. But Williams, who published a moving post about his experience with racism growing up in Oregon on his Instagram account earlier this year, said that was the reason he removed Raiders’ references – not because he doesn’t want to be a part of the team.
“You know, I’m not a real social media guy,” Williams said. “The only reason I had taken stuff off was more of a statement over what was going on for people of color in the country. The post I left up was really more a statement about what was going on in the country.”
Williams said his removal of Raiders mention had nothing to do with not wanting to play for the Raiders or that he did expect to be back with the team.
“People took it and ran with it in a different direction,” he said. “Of course I want to be with the Raiders and it sucks I got hurt this year and wasn’t able to go play and that kind narrative took off that I wasn’t happy. That was nothing that ever came from me.”
Williams’ Thoughts on 2020 Raiders
Despite being unable to be physically near the team due to COVID protocols, the Raiders Tryell Williams says he’s staying connected and isn’t surprised by how well the offensive unit has played.
“I think I’ve seen what everyone else has seen,” Williams said. “A very talented team and those guys on offense have been killing all year, pushing the ball down field, making plays…I think the sky is the limit for the team and they’re about to turn the corner.”
On quarterback Derek Carr, Williams said he saw Carr step up and become a more forceful leader taking control of the Raiders during the COVID shutdown. By galvanizing the team during those difficult times, and taking control of the team, Carr has had a great year.
“The leadership and just taking over,” Tyrell Williams said of Derek Carr in 2020. “Getting everyone together (during offseason) and how he commanded the offense in my second year versus the first is definitely a big difference. He has a lot of confidence in himself and you can feel it.”
Do the Raiders Want to Bring Williams Back?
The million dollar question: do the Raiders want to bring back Williams?
It will all come down to money. According to Over the Cap, Williams is due $11.5 million in 2021. With the Raiders having to find space to revamp their woeful defense, there’s no question the Raiders won’t want to bring him back at his current contract price. Also, they spent $21 million on Williams with mixed returns due to the inability of the receiver to stay on the field. Although that’s not the player’s fault, the NFL can be a cold business when it comes to numbers.
Sources indicate the Raiders really like their young wide receiver room and the way veteran Agholor has led them. With rookie Henry Ruggs III, Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones there, it may be too crowded to bring back the talented veteran Williams.
Still, Williams is a great talent who could add more veteran leadership and a big target at the X position for Las Vegas. If Williams is willing to negotiate a team-friendly deal, perhaps incentive-laden, maybe there is a chance.
The Raiders could also trade Williams or just let him walk to free up the space. Either way, the Raiders Tyrell Williams is ready and eager to get back on the field – somewhere.
“I definitely think I can bring a lot to the team,” Tyrell Williams said. “With my feet right, with my shoulder right I know I can bring a lot of things to the team in the receiving area so I’m excited for that.”