Former Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams is on life support in Tampa, the source says
Jonah Bronstein, Nick Veronica, and Sarah Minkiewicz
9 hours ago
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Mike Williams, 19, poses for a photographer during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo) / Gary Wiepert)
BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams was placed on life support at a Tampa-area hospital this week after a work-related accident, according to people close to the family.
Williams, 36, started a new job doing electrical work about seven months ago in the Tampa area, a close friend told WIVB in Buffalo, but he was involved in an accident on the job on Sept. 1. The friend said Williams was initially responsive after the surgery. But he was placed in a medically induced coma earlier this week.
On Wednesday, there were conflicting reports about his condition.
Williams starred in football and basketball for Riverside High School in Buffalo, making the All-Western New York team in both sports. He was an all-conference selection in Syracuse football and also had a short stint on the Syracuse basketball team. His NFL career spanned five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills.
“He was one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever known,” said Tony Trolizio, Williams’ former football coach at Riverside High School. “In terms of his athleticism, he was the best student athlete I have ever coached. … I am devastated, I cannot lie to you. I am sick to my stomach.”
Williams made the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2010, catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns after the Pirates selected him in the fourth round of the draft.
Williams earned a six-year, $40 million contract extension with the Bucs after compiling 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons. Less than a year later, Williams was traded to the Bills for a sixth round pick. He was released by his hometown team after catching eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in 2014. Williams last appeared on an NFL roster with the Chiefs during training camp in 2016.
Williams played in 29 games over three seasons at Syracuse, catching 133 passes for 2,044 yards and 20 touchdowns, second on the school’s all-time list. He caught a pass in all 28 games he played, the fifth-longest streak in school history. One of four true freshmen to play for the Orange in 2006, he gained 461 yards, the most by a Syracuse freshman since 1990. Williams was a second-team All-Big East selection as a sophomore. His streak of nine games with a touchdown reception was the longest in the country that year.
As a high school senior in 2005, Williams gained 970 yards and scored 15 touchdowns, earning Harvard Trophy Offensive Player of the Year and first-team Class AA All-State accolades. Ranked as the No. 10 recruiter in New York by Rivals.com before committing to Syracuse.
On the basketball court, Williams scored 1,468 points for Riverside teams that went undefeated in the Yale Cup for two full seasons. He averaged 26.3 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals as a senior. During his sophomore year, Williams was on the basketball team at Syracuse, appearing in four games and scoring seven points.
Truilizio said his favorite memory of Williams came during a game against Hutch Tech his freshman year of high school. Williams returned the second half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
“It was amazing to see,” Trulizio said.
Bruce Warrick, a friend from Buffalo who played basketball with Williams and attended his Riverside games, called him an inspiration.
“Going out of Buffalo, we hardly get the appreciation. He put the city on the map, and listen, you could do it anywhere,” Warrick said.