Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Lovie Smith withholding judgment on Mike Williams

ORLANDO — Bucs coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday that he wants to talk more with WR Mike Williams face to face about his stabbing Sunday night that left him with a thigh wound and his brother, Eric Baylor, facing a felony battery charge.

"I don't believe a guy should get a death sentence on one infraction," Smith said on the final day of the NFL owners meetings. "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 (Williams was).

"I look for a pattern. If a player shows a pattern of behavior that we don't feel like we want displayed by our (team), then more drastic measures come in to play. I'm not to that point right now."

Williams initially had told police the stabbing was accidental, but witnesses told them a different story, leading to a warrant being issued for Baylor, who turned himself in Monday and was jailed.

Williams, 26, was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, and treated and released Sunday. Baylor faces a felony charge of aggravated battery/domestic violence. He was released on $1,000 bail Tuesday.

Williams has a hearing scheduled today on misdemeanor charges of trespass and criminal mischief related to a December incident. He wasn't expected to appear in court.

In September, Williams agreed to pay $43,000 in damages related to a home he rented in a gated community in Lutz last year. Williams' time at the house resulted in at least five calls to 911 from June to September, a lawsuit and threats of eviction. Neighbors complained of loud parties.

"Everything is factored in," Smith said. "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 hoped to learn more after meeting with Williams after the owners meetings, which conclude this afternoon.

"I'm going to hold probably any further comment until I get a chance to talk to Mike face to face," he said.

IMPORTANT MOVE: Extending the contract of All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy is a priority, Smith said. McCoy, who led the Bucs with 9½ sacks last season and was named to his second straight Pro Bowl, is in the final season of the five-year, $55 million contract he signed as a rookie in 2010.

"He's a guy we definitely want around for a while, to say the least," Smith said. "In an ideal situation, you do a great job of drafting players and then you reward your players who have come up through the system and done it the right way."

McCoy is scheduled to earn a base salary of more than $12.7 million this season; his salary cap number exceeds $15.6 million.

RECEIVER SIGNED: The Bucs have another homecoming to announce. Former Lakewood High and Florida Gators WR Louis Murphy signed a one-year contract.

Murphy, 26, is with his fourth team in as many seasons (Raiders 2009-11, Panthers 2012, Giants 2013). The 2009 fourth-round draft pick had four touchdowns as a rookie with Oakland in 2009 but has just four in four seasons since. The St. Petersburg native had six catches for 37 yards and a touchdown with the Giants last season.

SPEED IN SPACE: Smith said he has talked to running back and track sprinter Jeff Demps about using him creatively on offense, potentially at receiver, and is eager to see his elite speed in person.

"I said 'I've never had a chance to coach the fastest guy in the NFL,' " Smith said of the former Gator, a silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 world championships in the 400-meter relay for the United States.

"He loves track, but he considers himself a football player. He's anxious to get started with whatever position we ask him to play, whether it's running back, receiver, returning kicks."

THIS AND THAT: Smith said free agent signee Michael Johnson will be his starting right defensive end and "odds are" Adrian Clayborn will start at left end, with second-year pro William Gholston also in the mix. … Smith said he'll dress five receivers for games this season, so the team will be in position to draft a receiver and/or still sign a player in free agency. … Smith said he expects free agent signee Dane Fletcher to compete for the middle linebacker job, challenging Mason Foster.

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