Mike Sims-Walker made a career-high, team-high 63 pass receptions in 2009. Most of those catches, however, were originally intended for Troy Williamson.
For Sims-Walker, '09 was a breakthrough season. For Williamson, it was another disappointment.
Williamson's season ended in the second game of the season, when an Arizona Cardinals player landed on Williamson's right shoulder as Williamson attempted to recover a fumble. That quickly, a season that began with so much promise ended with just three catches for 34 yards.
"It's another stumble. I look at it as it's going to make me work harder this year," Williamson said following a conditioning workout at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
He sustained a torn labrum in the Cardinals game and underwent surgery a week later. He's been cleared to begin conditioning and expects to be given the OK by Dr. James Andrews to practice this spring.
What if the injury hadn't occurred?
"That's a big question. Who knows? That's a question I ask myself," said Williamson, who won a starting wide receiver job for the season-opener on the strength of an eye-popping performance in the preseason.
It was expected to be Williamson's breakthrough season, following four years of injuries, critics and disappointment. Coming out of last year's preseason, Williamson was the big, fast talented receiver the Vikings drafted seventh overall in 2005 to replace Randy Moss. Then came the torn labrum.
"It did a lot for Mike and I'm glad for that. Mike has been a friend since I've been in Jacksonville. I'm happy for him," Williamson said of Sims-Walker, who replaced Williamson in the lineup and quickly rose to prominence.
"One thing I hadn't felt in a long time was I was comfortable in the system and that helped out a whole lot. Everything was pretty much coming together," Williamson said.
Williamson's goal now is to "get myself back to 100 percent and do what I have to do to become a starting wide receiver. My goal for this year is to stay healthy. I'm doing everything I can to do that," he added.