Bucs rookie receiver Mike Williams has traded in his snow boots for flip-flops and isn't complaining one bit. All he has to do now is catch up on his 4,000 Facebook friend requests.
I know you're from Buffalo, which probably couldn't be more different from Tampa Bay in many ways. Can you compare the two places?
The weather is the biggest difference, of course. I tell people all the time, it's probably snowing right now in Buffalo. Coming here, it's like the worst you get is rain. You say there's all these tropical storms, but I haven't seen them.
You spent your whole life in upstate New York. Was this a good change for you?
Oh, yeah. I went to Syracuse, and then I come to Tampa and I'm thinking, "I'm going to love the winters down here."
It did get to like 30 degrees last year, you know?
Whatever. (Back home) we get like minus-2. Please.
So, when does spring start in Buffalo?
Man, I don't know. Maybe June. Seriously. It can snow all the way to June.
What's it like playing football in that weather?
You know what? It doesn't bother me. We're so used to it. We really prepare for it. We play in that weather; we practice in that weather. You're just used to it.
How many times had you been to the beach before coming down here?
Man, maybe twice — ever. I went to Miami a couple times. I don't really even know what it's like.
I know it's been a whirlwind, but did you treat yourself to anything once you signed your contract?
Nothing, really. It was my mom, first. She didn't want to move out of her house. All she wanted was to redecorate. So, we went in and took all the old stuff out, even all the pictures on the walls. We just started over and got all new stuff. Actually, I really haven't gotten anything for myself yet.
What's the thing she liked the most that was put in the house?
I got her this 65-inch TV. That's her favorite thing. She loves it. Just seeing a smile on her face makes it all worth it. It makes me want to keep going.
This is one of our weekly questions. What's playing the most on your iPod right now?
I'd say Lil Wayne. I have pretty much all his songs. If it's by Lil Wayne, I have it. I think I have about 458 songs of his, between his music and songs he's done with other people. That's a lot of songs.
What on your iPod might surprise me a little bit?
I'd say I have a lot of Mary J. Blige on there. It's the old stuff. Not the new stuff.
Other weekly question: What website do you think you visit the most?
Oh, Facebook, definitely. I have a whole bunch of friends. I think I get 500 or 600 friend requests per day.
Wait a minute … per day?
Yes. It's crazy. I try to accept as many as I can. But I still get people calling me telling me they sent me a friend request and I didn't accept it. Right now, I think I have about 4,000 requests sitting there that I haven't had the chance to accept.
So, how many actual friends do you have?
I don't know. I'd say about 10,000. I don't know that many people. It went from about 10 per day, then when I started playing in college it went to about 40 per day, and now it's hundreds.
On a similar note, how weird is it that people are picking you to be on their fantasy football teams?
Man, that's real crazy. I used to hear people ask me about that before the season started, like should they draft me. I always would say, "Yeah, pick me!"
Since you're so far away from home, I'm wondering who do you call when you have a problem or need someone to talk to?
My mom. That's the first option. Sometimes she'll call me and she just knows I have a problem. Out of nowhere, she'll be like, "What's wrong with you?" I'm like, "How did you know?" She's like, "It's my mom sense." My mom cures everything, so I call her first.
Has she made it to a game yet?
She'll be here for the first home game.
We talked earlier about how different Tampa and Buffalo are. Are there any actual parallels? What makes you feel at home?
My teammates. It's like I'm back at home. It's like I'm back in college. I thought when I got to the NFL everybody would be real quiet and everybody would be worried about their jobs. But it's not like that. Everybody still talks to everybody, everybody still plays around, it's still (playing) video games. My teammates make me feel like we're at home.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]