Cary Williams on signing with the Seahawks: 'They wanted me just as much as I wanted them'

Cary Williams just joined his fourth team, but the veteran cornerback says he felt a connection and shares a common goal with the Seahawks that had been missing at his other NFL stops.

The reasons that Cary Williams signed with the Seahawks last week were apparent to the veteran cornerback as soon as he walked through the door at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

And that became equally obvious from his lengthy response to the first question during a conference-call interview on Tuesday with reporters who cover the team.

"I thought that it was an awesome place," said Williams, who was speaking from his offseason home in Nashville. "I thought the culture that's being built out there is awesome. I felt like the fans were great – the 12s were awesome. I think the coaching staff does a great job of developing talent and expanding a player's knowledge of the game. I thought they were on the right path. I think they play with a great fire, a great aggression. I'll just be glad to be a part of it.

"When I came on the visit, you felt a particular spirit within the organization. I think everybody had a great vibe. I think everybody was genuine. I think everybody was truly concerned about the guy next to him that they work with. And I think that's very important in the success of an organization. I thought that the head coach (Pete Carroll) was awesome. I felt like the GM (John Schneider) was great as well. The D-coordinator (Kris Richard) was great. And the trip, we just had fun. We were able to talk about anything and everything, not just football."

LOOKING FOR MR. RIGHT

The just-signed Cary Williams is the leading candidate to be the eighth player to start at right cornerback for the Seahawks since Pete Carroll became the coach in 2010. Seahawks have only had three starters at left cornerback in that same span: Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond and Richard Sherman who has started the past 58 games in a row. Here's a look at the seven players who have started on the right side in Carroll's first five seasons:

2010:Kelly Jennings, 14 games; Walter Thurmond 1 game; Nate Ness 1 game

2011: Brandon Browner, 16 games

2012:Brandon Browner, 12 games; Walter Thurmond, 1 game; Jeremy Lane, 3 games

2013: Walter Thurmond, 3 games; Brandon Browner, 8 games; Byron Maxwell, 5 games

2014: Byron Maxwell 12, games; Tharold Simon 4 games

Starts: Browner 36; Maxwell 17; Jennings 14; Thurmond 5; Simon 4; Lane 3; Ness 1

Consecutive starts: Browner 28; Maxwell 10; Jennings 9

And those are the many reasons why Williams came to a couple of conclusions that led to him signing with the Seahawks following his release by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Conclusion No. 1: "I felt it would be a great spot for me to come to work each and every day and enjoy it."

Conclusion No. 2: "They wanted me just as much as I wanted them."

The Seahawks also needed Williams, because they were aware that Byron Maxwell, who started 17 of the past 21 regular-season games on the right side, would attract a free-agent offer they simply couldn't match. It came last Tuesday, on the first day of the NFL free agency period, from the Eagles. Carroll and Schneider also were aware that nickel back Jeremy Lane is coming off knee and forearm surgeries because of injuries he got in Super Bowl XLIX last month and that Tharold Simon, a promising third-year corner, might not be ready just yet to become the fulltime starter opposite All-Pro Richard Sherman.

So Williams it was, because of his experience as a starter in the league and also his physical style of play.

"With Cary, it starts first and foremost with his length and his height, his aggressiveness and just the style of play that we have here – playing a lot of press (coverage)," said Schneider, who was especially impressed with the way the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Williams matched up with the Dallas Cowboys' 6-2, 222-pound Dez Bryant and New York Giants' 5-11, 198-pound Odell Beckham last season while playing in the NFC East.

"He was just intriguing. We're going to miss Maxie, but we had to be ready to go."

That's why the Seahawks jumped on Williams so quickly.

"We felt like we needed to do it early because of the competition at the cornerback position and we feel blessed we were able to finish it up," Schneider said.

No one has anointed Williams the starter at a position where seven other corners have started during Carroll's first five seasons as coach. But then Williams doesn't want that. He prefers to win the job.

"I don't want to necessarily be handed anything," he said. "I think that with success you have to earn it. I think with this development, you have to go out there and show that you can play. And that it's an honor and privilege to play this game, and it's an honor and a privilege to be a part of the 12s."

Perhaps the 30-year-old Williams is so appreciative of this situation with the Seahawks because he's made so many other stops during his career – three high schools in four years; two colleges; and NFL stints with the Tennessee Titans (2009) and Baltimore Ravens (2009-12) before playing the past two seasons in Philly.

"I look back on that and I just thank God for those opportunities that I had. I thank God for those hardships, those struggles, those trying times," Williams said. "They made me a better person. They made me a better football player. They made me a better man. I just thank God for the progress that I've made.

"I don't want to stop there. I want to continue to build on myself and do it for my family and be the best me I can possibly be each and every day."

That "family" has now grown, and Williams could sense it on his first visit to his new NFL home because he felt at home.

"As soon as I walked in the building everybody gave me a smile, a hug. It felt like a family atmosphere. It felt enjoyable to come in there," he said. "They wanted me just as much as I wanted them, and they gave specific reasons why.

"I felt like I fit the scheme very well, and I felt like the culture is something that a lot of teams in the NFL try to achieve. They try to get that culture. They try to get the physical play on defense. They try to get that swarm on defense. And every organization I've been to, they talk about those things. But you actually see those things when you turn on (video of) Seattle's football. When you see those guys out there on Sunday, they're flying around like it's 15 guys on the field. They play with a passion. They play with a fire. Those are some of the characteristics that I feel I bring and I'd love to be a part of."

The Seahawks acquired former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams on the opening day of NFL free agency.

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