Skip to main content

Kershaw hopes Houston is home


Linebacker Williams Kershaw was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006 by the Kansas City Chiefs.

William Kershaw hoped to be chosen by some NFL team in the 2006 draft. He wanted to settle into a new life as a pro football player, become a part of the team and community and have a long and stable career.

That was the dream. This is the reality.

Kershaw, a 6-3, 240-pound linebacker from the University of Maryland, wasn't drafted. He was like the playground kid that didn't get picked for kickball. It didn't feel very good.

He signed a free agent contract with Kansas City and spent the season on the Chiefs' practice squad until he was activated for the final game of last season.

Kershaw was on special teams in the Chiefs' playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts to finish last season. This season, he was waived by the Chiefs on Sept. 18 and signed to the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad on Oct. 18.

The Texans signed him off the Eagles' practice squad on Wednesday and he's had two workouts. He doesn't know if he'll be activated for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

{QUOTE}He hasn't unpacked yet.

"I feel everything happens for a reason," Kershaw said. "Maybe the first two teams I was with, it just didn't work out. It gets frustrating at times, but at least I'm not at home wondering why I'm not here or why I'm not there.

"I just take it as it is and go as hard as I can."

That's what he has done throughout his football career. At Maryland, he started the final 20 games. He ranked third on the team with 76 tackles as a senior. He had 204 tackles in 42 games at Maryland.

Kershaw anticipated being drafted.

"People always say you're going to get drafted, but I still made my way in (to the league) and I'm still with a team now," Kershaw said. "It was disappointing I didn't get drafted, but I have made it here and there are a lot of people who can't say they've made it to the NFL.

"Growing up playing football it's always a dream to play in the NFL, so it was just a long row, college and high school. Now I'm thankful I got the opportunity to fulfill a dream."

It's no disgrace to reach the NFL from off the street.

"I know a lot of guys who went to a lot of different teams, played in the World League and bounced around until all of a sudden they find their fit, the team that fits what they're doing," linebackers coach Johnny Holland said.

"I tell the guy to be encouraged that three teams wanted you and be encouraged you still have an opportunity. Guys like that are hungry. They've been on the streets before without a job and they make the most of their opportunity."

To make room for Kershaw, the Texans released Shantee Orr, who finished his Texans season with three tackles. He had 83 career tackles and 10.5 sacks in Houston while playing linebacker and as a pass-rushing defensive end.

Kershaw's skill set is slightly different.

"William is more of a standup coverage backer," Holland said. "He probably has some pass rush skills. I don't know yet. He's more of an off-the-ball linebacker. This is a young guy who can play special teams and we're short at linebacker and we needed a guy. We've got some guys nicked up."

Holland was familiar with Kershaw before Wednesday's signing.

"I watched William coming out of college," Holland said. "He showed some skills that he could play in this league. I think it's a good pick up for us. He's a young kid who has some athletic ability that we like. We're excited he's here and hope he can help us out. We need young players."

Kershaw has learned on the move in his brief pro career.

"Cover 2, everyone kind of plays that the same," Kershaw said. "We have some of the same blitzes. There's just a different terminology. Being here and with my previous teams has been helpful. I see some things in the playbook I can relate it to other places. It's easier to remember."

Kershaw would like to think that he's found a home. He's happy that he's not sitting by the phone awaiting a call. Still, he'd prefer to be settled on a roster.

"You make friends and get accustomed to the city and then you have to move," he said. "But it's a business. You have to go through different stuff. It's discouraging at times, but I keep my head up and try to work hard.

"I must be doing something good."

EDITOR'S NOTE: *Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports. *

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content