It's been a busy offseason for former Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, and for all the wrong reasons. He was arraigned on trespass and criminal mischief charges in February (he has since been approved to enter a pretrial intervention program to resolve the matter), and around that time it was reported that, from June to September 2013, neighbors in his Tamp, Fla., gated community called 911 at least five times because of loud parties Williams threw at the home he was renting. Then, in late March, he was stabbed in the leg by his brother.
Last week, less than nine months after Williams signed a six-year, $40 million contract with the Bucs, he was traded to the Bills for a late-round pick where he was reunited with college coach Doug Marrone, now the coach in Buffalo.
On Monday, Williams, 26, acknowledged what people around him have known for some time: He needs to be more mature.
"Yes, I think I do need to grow up a little bit more," Williams said, according to the Buffalo News. "I think with me having a son, it made me realize things a little bit more and how important it is, and what type of future I have for him and my family. A lot of people are depending on me, so you're right, I do have to grow up."
Williams said several of the stories about his escapades in Tampa were "made up," but that he wasn't going to get into it, and that the cases have all been dropped.
"I think one of my big mistakes is really trying to take care of too many people and trying to make too many people happy," Williams admitted. "Instead of me going out and doing what I have to do first, and then whatever after that."
To that end, will Williams, who was born in Buffalo, be distracted by playing in his hometown?
"No, I've been in the league for five years," he said. "Even with me being in Tampa, people would try to fly down, get 100 tickets, this that. I learned how to adjust. One big thing is, I learned how to say no. Me being back home I'm going to just take it like me being at Syracuse or Riverside."
“With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us,” the coach said shortly after the Bills traded for Williams last week. ” Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League. We look forward to getting Mike into the facility and start our work preparing for the 2014 season once the players are free to report on April 22.”
The Bills now have Williams, Stevie Johnson and young playmakers T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin at wide receiver. And the team is reportedly interested in former UNC tight end Eric Ebron, who would provide second-year quarterback EJ Manuel another potential big-play weapon.