Williams was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday, as the Chargers aren't quite ready to rule him out for the first six games of the season. He'll still miss Week 1 and likely some time beyond that, but the team expects him to begin practicing at some point in September. Williams will face an uphill battle to earn regular snaps if the Chargers' receiving corps stays healthy, with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams (groin) and Travis Benjamin set to open the year as the top three options. (Tyrell) Williams broke out for a 69-1,059-7 receiving line last season, and Benjamin impressed during the preseason with a pair of long touchdown catches.
Williams (back) is coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list and being placed on the active roster, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Though he may not be ready for Week 1, this is a clear sign the Chargers expect their first-round pick to be available within the first six weeks of the season. Williams has barely practice since he was drafted and still needs to prove he's worthy of snaps amidst a stacked receiving corps, but he should at least contribute as a red-zone target at some point before the end of the season. The Chargers will enter Week 1 with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams (groin) and Travis Benjamin as their top three wideouts.
Head coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that Williams (back) is ahead of schedule in his recovery and has already started to run full sprints, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports.
On the eve of training camp, Williams required a second epidural to deal with a herniated disc in his lower back, which has forced a stay on the PUP list throughout the preseason slate. While he doesn't have a timetable for a return, his activity level is a sign his absence may not extend too far into the regular season. However, without a definitive time line, anything a representative of the Chargers relays about Williams, even Lynn, should be taken with a grain of salt. In Williams' absence, the Chargers will send out known entities in Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin to head the receiving corps.
Lynn also said Williams is at least three weeks away from practicing, which essentially rules the first-round pick out for Week 1. Said to be targeting an October return, Williams will be ineligible for the first six weeks of the regular season if he isn't removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list by Sept. 2. A cautious approach makes sense, considering the Chargers have a more than capable trio of veteran wideouts in Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. The team's impressive depth at the position could leave Williams with a limited role even if/when he gets back to full strength this season.
Williams (herniated disc) is believed to be targeting a return to action in October, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
With the wideout addressing his back issue through rest and rehab rather than surgery, the Chargers hope that Williams can return to practice in September, barring any setbacks. While the report implies that the No. 7 overall pick will miss some regular-season action, it does point to Williams being able to play in a majority of the Chargers' tilts in 2017. Added clarity on his situation could come as soon as Sept. 2, when roster decisions are on tap. With that in mind, it remains to be seen if Williams' stay on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list might extend to the regular season.
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