Williams, who suffered through a serious neck injury last season that required surgery, has been cleared to practice and says he's feeling great, The Buffalo News reports. "I'm fully cleared to play," Williams said on the Bills' first day of voluntary practices Monday. "Talked to all the coaches. Talked to all the training staff and the doctors. We really went and evaluated everything and made sure I was 100 percent before I got back out there." There had been worries that Williams might even have to give up his NFL career, but things have gone his way lately and it looks like he'll be able to re-take his role as starting safety again. The team did sign veteran Robert Blanton in free agency just in case Williams can't sustain hits like an NFL player should any more, but for now the Bills are counting on him to lead what was a disappointing defense back to respectability.
Williams will transition from free safety to the wide receiver position this season. Williams played only three games last season after suffering another neck injury, but posted at least 75 tackles in the two seasons prior. Additionally, Williams nabbed four interceptions in 2013, when he showed good ball skills in defending 11 passes. Although Williams hasn't played offense since his high school days, his 6'0", 199-pound frame gives him good size for a wideout, and Williams also has long arms that should benefit him in Buffalo's passing game. Where he fall on Buffalo's depth chart remains to be seen, but by him transitioning to offense, safeties like Robert Blanton, Corey Graham, Jonathan Meeks and Duke Williams figure to compete for the extra snaps on defense.
Bills general manager Doug Whaley said Williams (neck) is healthy, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports. A neck injury limited Williams to three appearances in 2015, with his most recent outing coming on Oct. 11. The Bills placed him on IR/designated to return, but he was later ruled out for the remainder of the season once a playoff appearance was out of the question. Williams also dealt with a neck injury the previous season, so while he's seemingly on track to jump back in as the starting free safety, there are still some serious questions about his long-term future in football.
Williams (neck) will not return for the Bills' last two games, The Buffalo News reports. "He (coach Rex Ryan) knows that I really want to play this year, but unfortunately the outcome is a lot different than I expected," said Williams. "All I can do is really just get ready for next year." Williams has been saying all along he plans to play next season, but given the type of injury he's dealing with, the team won't really know his long-term ability to play until he sees game action. Thus, it may be hard to count on him as the starting free safety heading into a full season, though we'll note the team does have a decent amount of depth at the position.
While Williams (neck) continues to practice, he's not yet ready to return to game action and hasn't been cleared for contact, BuffaloBills.com reports. "Still not real sure on that," said coach Rex Ryan in reference to whether or not Williams will be activated from injured reserve. "I like the fact that he's out here practicing and he's moving well, but it's the contact. It's hard to say absolutely and things like that because right now he's not ready for contact." Williams still isn't 100 percent sure he's going to be OK for the long term until he tests things out in a real game. We'll see if the Bills try to make that happen in one of the last two games, as he will not be activated for Sunday's game in Washington.
|2||09/16||New York Jets||14|
|4||10/02||@New England Patriots||7|
|5||10/09||@Los Angeles Rams||30|
|6||10/16||San Francisco 49ers||15|
|8||10/30||New England Patriots||7|
|17||01/01||@New York Jets||14|