On the first day of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp Tuesday, wide receiver Kyle Williams showed he’s back.
After being restrained from recent organized team activities (OTAs) while still rehabbing from the knee injury (and surgery) that cut short his 2012 season, Williams was back to full speed Tuesday, showing he’ll be in the mix to earn playing time in the wide receiver corps.
As Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported, Williams took part in full position drills.
“When Williams was running around the field, he looked faster than ever and he cut with confidence,” Cohn reported.
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh, too, noted that it was great to have Williams back. Harbaugh praised Williams’ attitude, which always has been upbeat and resilient, even when faced with hardship.
“(He’s) one of the real veterans on the team now,” Harbaugh told reporters. “And his understanding of the offense. And as far as his movement skills, I would say, going real well.”
The 49ers will need Williams’ contributions in 2013, especially now with No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree out for the season and the probability that Mario Manningham – also coming off a knee injury – appears as if he won’t be ready by the start of the regular season.
Williams – who can also return kicks and punts and play on special teams – could be a key reserve.
Last season, the former Arizona State standout played just 11 games, catching 14 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. In 2011, he had 20 catches for 241 yards and three TDs.
During OTAs, Williams said he was eager to get back in full practice mode with his teammates.
“I want to be out there cranking with my guys, steer the young guys in the right way and go through the struggle with them,” he told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “But we’ve got to be smart. You can’t put the foot down on the gas if all the parts aren’t running right yet. We’ve got to stick to the protocol from Day 1.”
Williams is coming back off a torn ACL in November, and has been working steadily to get back in time for the start of training camp. In that regard, he’s even a little bit ahead of schedule. He’s eager to be a part of this team that is on an upward trend, after consecutive NFC West titles and a trip to the Super Bowl this past season.
“I definitely want to help this team any way possible,” Williams told Inman. “If it’s on punts, kickoffs, whatever they need. I’m in there. We’ll have to figure that stuff out when we come to camp and I’m allowed to get in the mix more.”
Based on his performance Tuesday, there’s no doubt Williams will be in the picture.