Syracuse WR Mike Williams: "It bothers me...I was never a quitter.'
Syracuse receiver Mike Williams says he's bothered by the perception that he quit the Orangemen football team after playing in just seven games last season.
Williams, who slipped to the fourth round before being drafted by the Bucs, called the incident a 'miscommunication,' between himself and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said Williams was suspended for a game against Akron for missing curfew. An automobile accident in which Williams was a passenger later in the year resulted in a miscommunication with Marrone and caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Torrey Ball, Antwon Bailey, Andrew Tiller and Williams were in a Ford SUV that was rear-ended by a tractor trailer at 5:30 a.m.
No alcohol was involved and the truck driver was charged in the accident. Ball, Bailey and Tiller were suspended but Williams left the team.
"Oh, yeah, it bothers me a lot,'' Williams said Saturday. "Because if anybody knows me, even coach Marrone would tell you I'm not a quitter. If anybody knows me, they know I don't quit anything. If I was a quitter, when I got suspended because of my grades, I would've quit Syracuse then. When I got suspended for that game for my paper, I would've quit Syracuse then. I was never a quitter. I never, ever did that. That's not my style. Tampa Bay will see that. They'll see I'm going to go out there and fight hard for everything I do, everything I get. It does kind of get to me when people say I'm a quitter because that's not a word that I even use.''
Williams missed the 2008 season after he was caught cheating on a test, but worked hard to improve his grades at Syracuse and returned to play in 2009.
"I was doing bad in school,'' Williams said. "My grades weren't okay. The exam didn't even start, but I did bring the notes in school, I did bring the notes in my class. I brought the notes in there, they saw my notes, and they were like, "These notes would get you 100 on the test.' I didn't write anything down on the paper, so they just pulled me out of the class right there. They said I had the wrong notes and that's what happened. I feel bad for the situation, but like I said before, all my problems weren't off-the-field issues, they were school issues.''
Williams says he's excited about the opportunity to play and possibly start as a rookie for the Bucs and prove he is worthy of their trust.
"Everybody tells me I'm a great guy and I want people to realize that,'' Williams said. "When people start bringing up these off-the-field issues and things like that, I feel like that's not me. I don't know who you're talking about. I've got to go out there and work hard and let these people know...who I really am.''