Out of nowhere: Kerwynn Williams stars in Arizona Cardinals’ win over Kansas City
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bet you didn’t have Kerwynn Williams in your Fantasy Football lineup Sunday.
Why would you?
The 23-year-old was simulating Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles in practice last week on the Arizona Cardinals’ scout team.
Friday, he was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster. Sunday, in his first game action at running back, he carried 19 times for 100 yards and breathed much-needed life into the Arizona running game in a 17-14 over the Chiefs at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I didn’t know what my role was going to be, I just wanted to be prepared for whatever it was,” Williams said. “For this week, it was the same as any other week. Coach (Stump) Mitchell does a great job preparing us all like we’re going to play every week. He didn’t treat me any different than he treated anyone else that was inside the running back room. He had us dress and prepare ourselves mentally to be ready to play.”
Williams, who ran for over 1,500 yards as a senior at Utah State in 2012, was more than mentally prepared to play. He had the first 100-yard day for a Cardinals running back since Week 8 of 2013 when Andre Ellington had 154 in a win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Stepfan Taylor started in place of the injured Ellington, but it was Williams who was the feature back for most of the game.
Williams was a seventh-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 and saw action in a couple of games on special teams. He was cut by the San Diego Chargers in August and landed with the Minnesota Vikings.
Head coach Bruce Arians says he got a tip from another coach in the league that Williams could play a little bit.
“I’ve got to give credit to Kirby Wilson, the running backs coach and my dear friend in Minnesota,” he said. “They let him go because they were loaded in the backfield. He called and said ‘this kid’s good, man. We don’t really want to lose him, but you want to get him.’
“So we got him on our practice squad early and we’ve loved him.”
For his performance, Williams was presented a game ball.
“I’m going to give that to my parents,” he said. “Throughout this whole process, they’ve been the main ones that kept me going. They’ve been very supportive in everything I’ve done. I’m definitely going to give that ball to my parents.”