Williams okay with Bucs for now, Smith will seek more answers
The bloody stabbing incident at Mike Williams' Avila home that sent him to the hospital and his brother to jail won't also cost the Bucs receiver his job.
But coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday he will withhold further comment until he has a face-to-face meeting with Williams, whose account of what happened during the incident at his home Sunday night differs from sworn statements and evidence collected by police.
“I have communicated with Mike,'' Smith said. "I have some information that I have to go on right now. And that information, I know that there was an incident at the home. Now, I haven’t had a chance to talk to everybody there. I haven’t done that type of research. We have time to do that.
"Just going forward in general, I don’t believe a guy should get a death sentence on one infraction. I made the statement I’m not going to kick someone off the team based on being a victim, from what I was initially told. But again, you don’t get a life sentence on one incident. I look for a pattern. If a player shows a pattern of behavior that we don’t feel like we want displayed by our Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then more drastic measures come into play. I’m not to that point right now.''
Witnesses told the Times Tuesday that Williams got into an argument with his brother, Eric Baylor, 23, shortly after arriving home Sunday. William Carter, 39, who was cleaning carpets in the home at the time of the stabbing, said Baylor had damaged a Bentley automobile that belonged to Williams, and an argument turned physical.
That's when Baylor stabbed Williams in the left thigh, just above the knee, with a 'paring knife,' according to a witness.
Williams told Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies that he and his brother were engaged in 'horseplay.' Baylor, who fled the scene, turned himself into authorities 29 hours later on a warrant and faces a felony charge for aggravated battery/domestic violence.
Williams has a hearing Thursday on two misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and trespassing stemming from an incident in December but is not is not expected to personally appear in court.
It's not the first time Williams has had trouble at his home. While living in a 5,400 square-foot home in the Sanctuary on Livingston development in Lutz, Williams' lifestyle resulted in at least five calls to 911 from June to September last year, a lawsuit and threats of eviction. Williams agreed in September to pay more than $43,000 in damages (plus attorney fees), extend his lease by one month (at $6,000), and surrender a $3,600 security deposit.
“Everything is factored in,'' Smith said. "I’m coming in. I think the advantage of starting fresh is I’m not going to judge players an awful lot based on what they’ve done before. If they’re on our football team right now, and they come in and say it’s a new day and they want another chance to do some things the right way, that’s what I’m going to go with. Yes, Mike has a court date set. But we have to let that all play out to the system a little bit. That’s how it is with everybody else. That’s the way we’re going to do it, too.''
Smith said he hopes to learn more after meeting with Williams following the owner's meetings, which conclude this afternoon.
“I came down here Saturday for the owner’s meetings. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mike face-to-face,'' Smith said. "I’m going to hold probably any further comment until I get a chance to talk to Mike face-to-face. But again, we don’t put up with a lot of off-the-field things going on. It’s kind of as simple as that. I have a pattern, I have a history as a football coach.''