INDIANAPOLIS —The Indianapolis Colts knew what they were getting when they signed Brandon Williams as a free agent last offseason.
The Colts, in search of some leadership on special teams, also wanted more of a veteran presence at tight end, where some playing time was to be had behind starter Jack Doyle and backup Erik Swoope.
But Williams saw his role increase significantly when Swoope underwent a knee scope procedure during training camp, was placed on Injured Reserve to begin the regular season and would end up going the entire year without being moved to the active roster.
Williams, who had been a special teams standout and solid blocker throughout his career before coming to the Colts, would get his first-ever chance to be more of an offensive contributor in 2017, and finished with career highs with 10 starts, 13 receptions and 121 receiving yards, including a career-best 32-yard reception Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks.
But all of that came to an immediate halt Week 15 against the Denver Broncos.
Acting as a protector on a second-quarter punt play, Williams appeared to collide helmets with Broncos outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount and immediately fell to the turf. After being immobilized and treated on the field by team medical personnel for about 15 minutes, Williams was placed on a stretcher and carted off; he was then taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
The Colts initially announced that Williams suffered a head injury, and was not believed to have suffered an injury to his neck or spine; he was placed on the cart and strapped down for precautionary measures.
While at the hospital, Williams was said to be "awake and alert;" he had no neck pain and had movement in his limbs. He was able to even return to the stadium by the end of the game, where he continued to be under the care of team trainers and doctors.
That concussion would eventually result in Williams being placed on IR, ending his season two weeks early.
Now, he heads into the offseason a free-agent-to-be once again, though getting back to full health, of course, remains Williams' primary objective.
If the Colts do entertain the possibility of bringing Williams back for a second season in 2018, they should have plenty of competition for those two spots behind Doyle and Swoope.
Undrafted free agent Darrell Daniels showed some positive signs in his rookie season last year, appearing in 12 games with three starts, while late-season addition Jason Vander Laan showed off some promising athleticism in the passing game. The team also has Mo Alie-Cox, who spent much of the season on the practice squad, set to be on its offseason roster as he continues his transition from college basketball to the NFL.
2018 Colts Free Agent Watch:* *
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken
- Inside linebacker Jon Bostic
- Safety Darius Butler
- Cornerback Pierre Desir
- Running back Frank Gore
- Cornerback Rashaan Melvin
- Guard Jack Mewhort
- Running back Christine Michael
- Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
- Wide receiver Donte Moncrief
- Center Mike Person
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien
- Kicker Adam Vinatieri
- Tight end Brandon Williams
85 Williams, Brandon TE 6-3 260lbs 30yrs 5yrs Oregon