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DUI charge against Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams dropped

TAMPA — Two days after his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence in November, Bucs rookie receiver Mike Williams was allowed to travel with the team to San Francisco, where he caught a touchdown pass in a win over the 49ers.

Coach Raheem Morris said Williams made a bad decision to drink and drive, but he didn't break the law.

Friday, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office agreed, saying it will not prosecute Williams.

Williams declined to comment. His attorney, Andrew Shein, said his client was never concerned about the outcome.

"He had nothing to hide, and he was not worried when the state of Florida was taking his urine because he knew there was nothing in there illegal," Shein said. "He had nothing to worry about."

Williams was accused of driving a black Cadillac 57 mph in a 45 mph zone near U.S. 301 and Causeway Boulevard in east Hillsborough County shortly before 3 a.m. Nov. 19 and of weaving between lanes.

Tests indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.065 percent and 0.061 percent, below the threshold of 0.08 at which the state presumes a driver is impaired. But authorities said Williams failed a field sobriety test, smelled of alcohol and appeared to have glassy eyes.

State attorney spokesman Mark Cox said Friday that lab results of a voluntary urine test showed Williams, 23, had no drugs in his system.

Prosecutors decided to drop the DUI charge after reviewing those results and Williams' performance in the roadside field sobriety test.

"Based on the evidence we had, we did not feel we had a legally sufficient basis to proceed with the case," Cox said.

In a videotape of the traffic stop and roadside field sobriety test released by the Hillsborough State Attorney's office Friday, Williams tells a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy he had "nothing to drink."

The videotape shows Williams walking a straight line heel to toe without difficulty and holding his right foot about 6 inches off the pavement in front of him for a count of 18 seconds before the tape ends.

Asked his assessment of the tape, Shein said, "Mike Williams was not impaired that evening, and the videotape confirms that. That's what we always maintained. The State Attorney's Office reviewed all the evidence in this case, and they came to the same conclusion."

The ordeal took an emotional toll on Williams, Shein said, considering the questions it revived about his history at Syracuse University, where he left the team in a dispute with the coach, and his attempt to stay out of trouble since being drafted by the Bucs.

"He was obviously very upset at the fact he was arrested, because he had come to the Bucs and was having a great year and working real hard and didn't want anything to detract from the team because of team goals and also for himself," Shein said.

"It really hurt him. But he was confident from the beginning that all the facts would come out, and he thanks the Bucs organization, teammates and fans who all stood by him during this incident. He was just glad that it was able to be resolved quickly."

Williams was allowed to play against San Francisco after voluntarily providing for the Bucs a urine test, which showed he had no drugs in his system, and on the recommendation of team captains.

"We're pleased by this news and are happy for Mike, who is already focused on an exciting 2011 season," Bucs director of communications Jonathan Grella said.

Williams took responsibility for what happened after the 49ers game.

"I know the mistake I made was staying out late, and that's something I have to learn from," Williams said. "I know I was good enough to drive. Just the mistake I made was staying out too late."

Williams, a fourth-round pick from Syracuse, might have been the steal of last year's draft. He was considered a first-round talent before he left Syracuse with three games to play in 2009 after missing curfew for the second time during the season.

Williams signed a four-year deal worth about $3.15 million in June. He made a quick impression in rookie minicamp and was a starter in the regular-season opener against Cleveland.

Williams led all rookie receivers with 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, breaking Joey Galloway's club record for touchdown receptions. Williams is the first rookie in the league to have double-digit touchdown receptions since Randy Moss in 1998.

That performance earned Williams a spot on the Sporting News all-rookie team, and he is one of five finalists for the NFL rookie of the year award.

DUI charge against Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams dropped 01/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 10:56pm]
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