Many happy returns around the NFL

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Welcome back, Big Ben.

Welcome back, Kevin Kolb.

Welcome back, Deion Branch.

Welcome back … Mike Williams?

That’s right, on a Sunday filled with eye-catching comebacks by teams and individuals, the biggest blast from the past came from a Seattle Seahawks receiver long since branded a bust.

Williams, the onetime USC star who was drafted with the 10th pick by Detroit in 2005, reeled in 10 passes in Seattle’s 23-20 upset at Chicago. This from a guy who was out of football the past two seasons and hadn’t caught more than three balls in a game since his rookie year.

“Mike Williams came through beautifully,” said the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, his college coach, who has gotten more out of the slimmed-down Williams than the receiver’s three previous teams: Detroit, Oakland and Tennessee.

It was also a memorable day for Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.

Roethlisberger was cheered loudly by his home crowd during introductions, then threw three touchdown passes in a 28-10 thumping of Cleveland.

That was a welcome change for the Steelers, who cobbled together a 3-1 start without him by leaning heavily on their running game and defense. They were ranked last in passing yards per game.

Even though he was cheered in exhibition games, Roethlisberger wasn’t sure how he would be received by Steelers fans, some of whom wanted the team to trade him in the wake of his latest troubles. In March, he was accused of — but not charged with — sexually assaulting a Georgia college student.

Aside from about 20 protesters carrying signs outside Heinz Field, the quarterback got a warm reception.

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