Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks’ DT Jesse Williams cleared to begin workouts 2 weeks after kidney-cancer surgery

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams stretches during practice in 2014. Williams missed his first two seasons due to injury.
Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams stretches during practice in 2014. Williams missed his first two seasons due to injury. The Associated Press file

This is crazy — in the best possible way.

Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams had surgery to remove cancer in his kidney two weeks ago.

This week he tweeted this: “Cleared to Workout, Comeback Begins. #MonstarStrong”

Yes, The Monstar has attacked cancer.

Williams posted on Instagram a picture of him flashing a grin and a thumbs-up sign while standing on the team’s practice field in Renton with smiling teammate Richard Sherman.

Williams had surgery May 28 for papillary type 2 cancer at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Doctors there removed one of his kidneys. He checked out of the hospital two days later, and since then Williams and the team have been waiting to ensure the cancer was not returning. The defensive tackle from Australia and the University of Alabama, who has missed his first two Seahawks seasons with knee injuries, praised the doctors at UW and at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for his surgery and recovery.

It’s been less than one month since doctors found his cancerous cells.

“2 weeks post papillary Type 2 renal carcinoma stage three surgery! Cleared for light workouts!” Williams posted with the Instagram picture. “If you know me you will know how much that means to me to be back out there moving around and hanging back with the team! Not an easy journey so far but I don’t think it would mean as much or be worth it if I didn’t have to fight for what I wanted! And I want this!! Appreciate the Seahawks for standing by me through all this & can’t wait to be back on the field representing such a great organization!”

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a renowned treatment and research center in New York, defines papillary type 2 cancer as representing “more than one category of disease but, as a group, are much more aggressive and may follow an unpredictable growth pattern.” Doctors found the cancerous cells in Williams’ main kidney area, as opposed to related tubes.

Sloan Kettering says the type of cancer Williams has occurs in 10 to 15 percent of all cases of kidney cancer. It occurs most often in men aged 50 to 70.

Seattle drafted Williams, 24, and nicknamed “The Monstar,” in the fifth round in 2013 out of Alabama and Arizona Western College. He was born on Thursday Island in the Australian state of Queensland.

Now, he’s ready to start being a football player again. With one kidney.


The Seahawks signed rookie undrafted free-agent wide receiver Kasen Williams, from the University of Washington and Skyline High School in Sammamish. To make room on its 90-man offseason roster the team waived linebacker Mister Alexander.

Williams tried out for the Seahawks in May. He becomes eligible to practice with the team per National Football League rules next week, after his UW class has graduated.