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Alabama in the Pros

Former Alabama standout medically cleared for gridiron return

Joe Nicholson - USA TODAY Sports

The pride of Australia is ready to take on football once again.

Heart, hard work and a will to return to something he loves are the three things that keep former Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams going. Nine months ago he was diagnosed with papillary (kidney) type two cancer and had to undergo surgery.

Prior to the encounter, Williams was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks with the 137th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 323 pounds, Williams was tabbed to be a promising force on Seattle’s front line until two knee injuries sidelined him. He became the first Australian to win a Super Bowl title, obtaining a ring in the 2013 season.

Seattle released him on Mar. 6, 2015 after two NFC Conference titles but no field action to show for it.

Head coach Pete Carroll and company would work out a deal with Williams, resulting in him returning a few weeks later.

With support from Alabama and Seahawk fans, Williams has pressed his way in attempts for another opportunity. He was able to participate for Seattle during NFL preseason, fulfilling a vow that he made to himself on overcoming his illness.

Williams was dominant in two seasons at Alabama (2011-12), collecting 61 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries and a blocked kicked.

He achieved a Southeastern Conference title in 2012 and two national championships in 2011 and 2012. Crimson Tide nation is ready to see one of its own return to action soon.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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