Former NFL wide receiver Mike Williams has died after being involved in a construction site accident last week, the Buccaneers announced. He was 36 years old.
"We are saddened to hear the untimely death of Mike Williams, which has left our organization, his former teammates and fans with heavy hearts," the team wrote in a statement. "We send our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones as they mourn this tragedy."
Williams, 36, had been working in Hillsborough County in Florida when he was injured last week, the mother of his 8-year-old daughter, Tierney Lyle, told the Tampa Bay Times. The former NFL player was mostly nonresponsive when visited last Wednesday at the intensive care unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.
Things seemed to take a positive turn when Lyle told the Tampa Bay Times that doctors took him off a ventilator last Thursday afternoon. Still, Williams was reportedly partially paralyzed, and fighting for his life. Williams ultimately lost that battle and died Tuesday morning, per his agent, Hadley Engelhard.
"He will be missed. He fought hard his whole life. Prayers to his family," Engelhard said (via NFL Media).
A native of Buffalo, New York, Williams was drafted by the Buccaneers in the fourth round (No. 101 overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He is perhaps best known for his rookie season with Tampa Bay, when he led the team with 65 catches for 964 yards and a then-franchise-record 11 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2 target had similar production in each of his next two years, eclipsing 60 catches and 750 yards from 2011-2012, then landed a six-year, $40 million extension ahead of the 2013 campaign.
A hamstring injury limited Williams to just six games in his first year under the new deal, and the wideout was traded to his hometown Bills after the season. He briefly flashed as a big-play option, scoring three TDs and averaging almost 18 yards per catch in nine games, but reportedly sought another trade by mid-October, and the Bills released him later that season.
He served a multigame suspension to start 2015 before spending the rest of the year unsigned, only to resurface with the Chiefs during the 2016 offseason. He competed for a reserve role behind veterans Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley, as well as then-rookie Tyreek Hill, before his release as part of final roster cuts in August.