Kyle Williams might have lost the confidence of the San Francisco 49ers' faithful with his two-fumble implosion in the NFC Championship Game, but he still has the faith of the team, according to general manager Trent Baalke.
"I'm not down on Kyle Williams, nor is anyone else in this organization," Baalke said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. "It's done, it's over with, and we're moving forward. I'm very confident that Kyle will get past the incident of last year and is ready to move on. And he'll get better because of it."
Baalke certainly sounds like a guy who will give Williams a shot at redemption next season. But in reality, Williams' future remains very unsettled.
As Matt Maicco of Comcast SportsNet BayArea recently pointed out, Williams could have a hard time breaking camp with the 49ers if they select a wide receiver in the first four rounds of this month's draft.
Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree should earn roster spots. Ted Ginn tested the waters in free agency before returning to San Francisco and has proven to be a strong return man when healthy (it was Ginn's knee injury that moved Williams into the lineup on that fateful January day).
Williams has shown promise as a slot receiver (20 catches for 241 yards and three touchdowns in '11), but given his past, it's hard to imagine the team ever putting him in another pressure situation as a returner. This reality limits his value.
If the 49ers add another wide receiver, Williams could be the odd man out. Baalke says he's not down on Williams after one disastrous afternoon, but his draft strategy will speak louder than any words.