Williams added the fresh ink during the offseason as a tribute to an Arizona State teammate, Tyrice Thompson, who died Feb. 2 from injuries suffered when he was stabbed Jan. 27 while working at a popular Scottsdale, Ariz., nightclub. Williams will play in Thompson's honor this year — the fourth-year pro's return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that required surgery and ended his 2012 season in late November.
"He was family to everybody," Williams said. "He's a guy I played with at ASU, and kind of like a big brother to me. When he was here [alive] he was always looking over me and there for me, always sharing wisdom."
Now that he is healthy at last, the 25-year-old Williams has a chance to be San Francisco's No. 2 wide receiver opposite Anquan Boldin. Williams also will handle some kick return duties for the NFC champions.
Williams, Colin Kaepernick and Co. open the season Sunday at home against Green Bay in a rematch of the NFC divisional playoffs last January at Candlestick Park won 45-31 by the 49ers.
"Kyle Williams, we feel like we know what Kyle can do and we've been a little bit cautious there," coach Jim Harbaugh said of pushing him too hard early.
Hanging up in Williams' locker is a regular reminder of his dear friend — the program from the late 27-year-old's service — Tyrice Allen Thompson. April 2, 1985, to Feb. 2, 2013.
The former tight end and wide receiver died a day before Williams and the 49ers lost the Super Bowl to Baltimore in New Orleans. Thompson was stabbed five times in the back, hip and arm after an early morning altercation at Martini Ranch near Scottsdale's hip Old Town neighborhood, and only a few miles from Williams' high school. Ian MacDonald of Tempe is accused in Thompson's killing and faces a charge of second-degree murder.
Williams last saw Thompson in the Phoenix area during San Francisco's bye week after the 49ers played at Arizona on Oct. 29. The two played together for the Sun Devils for two years.
NOTE: 49ers All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith and former Niners tight end Delanie Walker were named in a lawsuit filed by a man who was shot at a party at Smith's home last year, NBC Bay Area reported. The lawsuit was filed by Ronndale Esporlas in Santa Clara County. The suit claims Smith and Walker, now a member of the Tennessee Titans, illegally fired weapons on numerous occasions during a party, at which Smith was stabbed, in June 2012.