Dolphins Sign Damian Williams

Posted Apr 11, 2014

Williams joins Miami after spending the past four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Wide receiver Damian Williams learned something during his time at the University of Southern California that came into play when he decided to join the Miami Dolphins.

“I was taught about the value of competition,” Williams said in a conference call with reporters after he signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins. “The only way a team gets better is to have great competition at each position. Coming in, I add that, another element to the wide receiver group. That competition will make us stronger as a whole.”

The 6-3, 193-pound Williams joins Miami after spending the past four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who had made him a third-round pick (77th overall) in the 2010 NFL draft. Williams has 106 receptions for 1,313 and five touchdowns in 54 career games, including 17 starts.

The signing adds depth to a wide receiver corps that includes Armon Binns, Kevin Cone, Brandon Gibson, Brian Hartline, Rishard Matthews, Michael Rios, Ryan Spadola and Mike Wallace.

Williams also has experience as a punt and kickoff returner, and the subject came up during his discussions with the Dolphins. Williams also understands the Dolphins already have a quality returner in Marcus Thigpen.

“Again it comes down to the whole competition thing,” Williams said. “Thigpen did a great job for them in the past. Even if I don’t get the job as a returner, the competition will be able to push Thigpen to be better at what he does.”

Williams’ best season came in 2011 when he started 13 games and caught 45 passes for 592 yards and five touchdowns. The five receiving touchdowns represented the second-highest total on the team behind the seven recorded by Nate Washington. Last season, Williams had 15 catches for 178 yards in 10 games.

“I think I’m a pretty complete receiver,” Williams said. “Mainly I’m a cerebral player. There’s not too many times I go into a game that I’m not prepared mentally, which obviously enhances the physical aspect of the game. I run good routes, I’m a disciplined player. I’ve been around the game long enough that I understand the way that things work. I understand the attention to detail.”

Williams becomes the seventh unrestricted free agent signed by the Dolphins this offseason, following tackle Branden Albert, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, guard Shelley Smith, running back Knowshon Moreno, tackle Jason Fox and Cone.

Williams is the fourth wide receiver signed by the Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent over the past three offseasons, following Legedu Naanee in 2012, and Wallace and Gibson last year.

The signing came on the same day the Dolphins entertained 50 draft-eligible local players.

“It’s been a good day,” General Manager Dennis Hickey said. “We started off the day with our Miami local day for draft-eligible players. There were 50 of the nation’s finest athletes that come from our locales here in Miami. That was great to see a lot of new players here spend time with our coaches.

“Even better now, just being able to announce the addition of Damian Williams to the Miami Dolphins. He’s a quality player, a good person that we’re excited to add to the Miami Dolphins.”

Williams began his collegiate career at the University of Arkansas (2006) prior to spending two seasons at the University of Southern California (2008-09). During his collegiate career with the Razorbacks and the Trojans he caught 147 passes for 2,114 yards and 17 touchdowns while appeared in 38 games with 25 starts.

A native of Dallas, Williams is a 25-year-old whose best football still should be ahead. That’s how he says he views the Dolphins, and what made them appealing to him.

“Just the overall situation,” Williams said. “They’re an up-an-coming team, they’re a young team. They have great coaching. After talking to the coaching staff and the receivers coach, the OC and Coach (Joe) Philbin and Mr. Hickey, the direction of the program is headed toward success. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to come in and catch a couple of balls.”
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