Monday, December 22, 2014

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Williams seeks fresh start in familiar surroundings

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Clad in the red, white and blue of the team he rooted for as a kid, Mike Williams stepped to the podium at One Bills Drive with a sense of excitement for the chance to play for his hometown Buffalo Bills.

"I always grew up a Bills fan. It's like a dream come true," Williams said. "It's like waking up and living my dream again. I feel like it's a fresh start and I'm willing to do that."

The Bills traded for Williams last week, sending a reported 6th round draft pick to Tampa Bay.

There's no doubt Williams is a talented wide receiver. At 6'2, 215 lbs, he has the size and ability teams covet. A product of Buffalo's Riverside High School, Williams had 25 touchdown receptions over his first four NFL seasons with the Buccaneers.

But for the good he's done on the field, trouble has followed him off of it.

At Syracuse University he was kicked off the team during the 2009 season, when Bills head coach Doug Marrone was with the Orange.

"Coach Marrone said to me the past is the past," Williams said. "He said it was his first year of coaching. He made mistakes. I made mistakes. Situations weren't handled how they were supposed to be handled but the past is the past."

Williams is also trying to get past a series of off-the-field issues when he was with Tampa Bay, including being stabbed in the leg during a recent altercation with his brother.

"When you're getting a lot of bad attention, it's about are you going to let the bad attack you or you're going to fall, are you going to die about the bad? Or are you going to get up and try again? And that's why I think a fresh start is needed," Williams said.

Williams has five years remaining on his contract. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.8 million next season, according to That means there's little risk involved for the Bills, as Williams comes at a relatively cheap price, and the club has a season to evaluate his talent along with his conduct before his salary jumps up dramatically in 2015.

With what he believes will be a clean slate, Williams joins the Bills receiving corps as a new target with proven production for quarterback EJ Manuel.

"Being with winners is always a good thing and I can't wait to get working with him," Williams said of Manuel.

The Bills hope the addition of Williams will help Manuel earn more wins than he did in an up and down rookie season.

And for Williams, who admitted he needs to grow up, it's an opportunity to prove himself in front of the city where he was raised.

"That's how I play. I've got a chip on my shoulder. I'm going to go out and prove that (the Buccaneers) made a mistake and this is a great decision for the Buffalo Bills." ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP