Williams, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, was placed on injured reserve in order to open up a roster spot for Lewis, who is not expected to play against Cincinnati in the regular-season finale but must be activated to be eligible to return for the playoffs.
The roster move prematurely ends a disappointing second season for Williams, the Baltimore native and Poly graduate whose successful, long-shot effort to make the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011 was one of the more compelling story lines of that training camp.
Williams, a college teammate of Torrey Smith’s at Maryland, saw some action as a receiver as a rookie, with four catches for 46 yards, including one catch in that final-minute drive in the win at Heinz Field. He was also a key member of the special teams unit, forcing a fumble in the AFC Championship Game at New England.
This season, Williams entered camp battling for the No. 4 receiver job and for a spot on special teams. He had a strong camp as a receiver, showing athleticism and big-play potential, and he appeared to have moved ahead of Tandon Doss early in camp as Doss was slowed by injuries.
But Doss ultimately emerged as the No. 4 receiver. Williams was inactive for the first four games this season, and his role since then has been limited to special teams. He was credited with five special teams tackles this season and saw virtually no action at wide receiver.
When 2013 training camp begins, Williams figures to once again face another battle to make his hometown team. But he's been there before.