The Buffalo Bills are rolling the dice a change of scenery will be just what Buffalo native Mike Williams needs to rescue his professional career.
The Bills today announced they have traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 26-year-old Williams. The deal was first reported by ESPN, reportedly for a sixth-round draft choice. The trade is contingent on Williams reporting to the Bills and passing a physical.
Williams is entering his fifth year in the NFL. He played just six games in 2013 before going on injured reserve because of a torn hamstring. In Williams' first three years, he made 193 catches for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns.
But the Bucs were willing to give up that type of production because of Williams' off-the-field issues.
On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reported Williams is being sued by an insurance company for alleged damages to a rental property. That follows a previous lawsuit brought against him by his landlord.
Just last month, he was stabbed in the thigh by his brother. He's also facing a misdemeanor charge for trespassing and aggravated battery.
Combined, those issued proved to be too much for new Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith to deal with.
Joining the Bills will reunite Williams with his coach at Syracuse, Doug Marrone. That's interesting, because Williams quit the Orange in 2009.
"We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve. With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us," Marrone said today in a statement released by the Bills. "Today, 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."
Marrone started his statement by describing Williams as a "competitive, tough wide receiver who has the size and athleticism to add competition to our receiver position group."
The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Williams has 215 catches for 2,947 yards with 25 touchdowns in 54 games (52 starts) in his career. He finished second in voting for the Associated Press' Rookie of the Year in 2010 after starting his professional career with 65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Williams' is the second Buffalo native to join the Bills' roster this offseason, after the team signed cornerback Corey Graham as a free agent last month.