Niagara Gazette

Sports

April 7, 2014

Mike Williams seeks fresh start in return to Buffalo

Receiver Mike Williams acknowledged he has some growing up to do while addressing questions about his troubled past Monday.

For Williams, there's no place better to start fresh than in his hometown of Buffalo.

"It's like being drafted all over, especially to my hometown, and get to come back and play in front of the people that know me, where I came from," Williams said during a news conference three days after the Bills acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay. "The people know what type of guy I am."

Calling the homecoming "a dream come true," Williams returns to the place he was a high school star. He went on to a successful yet troubled career at Syracuse, where Williams abruptly quit the team in November 2009 during his junior season.

This is the second — and potentially final — chance for Williams to put behind off-field distractions, which led to the Buccaneers parting ways with their starter in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. The deal was made a year after Williams signed a six-year, $40 million contract.

The breaking point came two weeks ago, when Williams was allegedly stabbed in the leg by his brother, Eric Baylor, who has since turned himself in to police.

Williams passed his physical in Buffalo and said the injury from the stabbing won't prevent him from reporting for voluntary team workouts, which begin April 22.

Williams acknowledged making mistakes and vows to do better, saying there are people depending upon him, including his infant son.

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

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