Right tackle/right guard/left guard/fat waste of space was released by the Bills on Thursday, putting an end to his lackluster career in Buffalo, and putting a punctuation mark on Tom Donahoe’s biggest miss as former general manager of the team. The 4th overall pick in the 2002 draft, Williams never lived up to lofty expectations, never taking his place as the franchise tackle the Bills had envisioned when they drafted him. He’d been wildly inconsistent playing at right tackle, and never really had a realistic chance of having success at the marquee offensive line position, left tackle, much to Buffalo’s dismay. In fact, he was so bad at right tackle, that the team moved him to guard in the second half of the 2005 season, cementing his “bust” status. The Bills will save more than $3 million against the cap, and had they kept him, Williams would have counted $10.8 million against the cap. That’s a staggering number when you factor in where he was drafted, what position he was playing, and how little effort he seemed to put into getting better. He had been beset with injury problems throughout his career, though I’ve always thought he was simply being a lazy load not willing to put in the extra effort and push himself to a higher level.
I’ve never been a fan of players from the University of Texas; they all seem to have a sense of entitlement about them, not to mention what I kindly call “questionable” work ethics. Williams was no different; the proverbial “light” never turned on for him. Back in 2004, I remember being at a local video game store around midnight, the night Halo 2 was due to be released to the masses (nevermind the implication that I was at a video game store at midnight on a weekday; I will get a hold of my life on my own time). While waiting in line, a giant, black SUV/Truck with blinged-out rims comes pulling up to the curb and stops. Out of the truck comes Mike Williams with an apparent friend/bodyguard of his. Williams and friend amble past the line and walk right into the store and exit a minute or so later, brand new copy of Halo 2 in hand; Williams obviously ready for a night full of pwning n00bs (i.e. “gaming”).
Putting all the disdain I have in context, this is the week following a game Williams missed because of what was called a “neck injury.” This same neck injury didn’t seem to get in the way of being out late at night to pick up a video game. I’m probably a tad off-base on this, but how does a guy like this, in the middle of football season, have time to be out at that time of night to buy video games, when he should be at home either getting better, sleeping, or reading his playbook and studying film. I’m sure there are plenty of players who do stay out, party, and even buy video games. But those players also put in 110% every week and–gaps–actually play on Sundays! Williams never “got it” and was never willing to put in the effort that would have justified him being a #4 NFL draft pick.
So this brings to an end the Buffalo chapter of Mike Williams’ NFL career. I’m sure someone else will pick him up for training camp this summer, and they too will come to the realization that Mr. Williams’ priorities rank as follows:
1) Eat some chips.
2) Take a nap.
3) Play videogames.
4) Play football…Madden NFL 2005 Football on the PlayStation 2, that is.
5) Make some time on Sundays to be at the stadium.
Marv Levy and new Bills’ coach Dick Jauron have their work cut out for them in making the Bills a contender again, and getting rid of some dead weight (quite literally) like Williams is a big step in the right direction. It was time to cut the cord. Good riddance.