Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Williams: Bucs trading him a mistake

Saying he wants to prove the Bucs made a mistake by trading him to the Bills, receiver Mike Williams said Monday that he has to "grow up a little bit more."

Despite that acknowledgement at his introductory news conference, Williams insisted that he was guilty mostly of having a big heart and said two stories about his off-field problems weren't factual. He refused to specify but claimed some charges against him were unfounded.

The spate of trouble surrounding Williams prompted the Bucs to trade their No. 2 receiver to Buffalo on Friday for a sixth-round pick.

"I'm going to go out and prove they made a mistake and this is a great decision for the Buffalo Bills," Williams said.

Williams was stabbed in his left thigh last month at the home he has since purchased in Avila. His brother Eric Baylor was charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence.

While Williams was a victim in the stabbing incident, it wasn't the first time he had trouble at his home. While living in a 5,400-square-foot home in Lutz, Williams' lifestyle resulted in at least five calls to 911 from June to September last year, a lawsuit and threats of eviction. He agreed in September to pay nearly $50,000 in damages, attorney fees and deposits.

Two weeks ago, he was approved to enter a pretrial intervention program to resolve misdemeanor charges of trespass and criminal mischief. He was accused of knocking a girlfriend's door off its hinges in December.

"I fell into a wrong mistake, and there was a lot of other people who tried to take advantage of it," Williams said. "You see how it came like back-to-back-to-back-to back. So it was two of them was made up, everything has been dropped.

"Two of them stories is actually made up."

When asked which ones, Williams refused to elaborate. "They don't want me to talk about the stories, so I'm not going to get into that," he said. "But all cases were dropped. Two of the stories were actually made up. It was somebody trying to get over. His family was the people that came to the media and talked. It wasn't even the neighbors."

Williams was pressed on why somebody would make up a story to potentially hurt him. "I don't know. You guys do it all the time," he told reporters.

"That's not like no shot at nobody, but sometimes somebody tries to flip a story to make it sound like one way when it's really another way and trying to make a story out of something that's really not nothing."

Williams made it clear from the start of his time at the home in Lutz, purchased by Warren Gold in 2005 for $845,500, that the furnished rental was a place to throw Gatsby-style parties. Williams' affiliation with the rap group Cave Man Gang led to him advertising for girls to appear in videos.

Williams said Monday that one of his biggest mistakes was trying to help too many people and troubles stemmed from him having too much of a 'big heart."

"It was kind of like trouble found me," he said.

"Somewhere where I didn't think trouble was at. It's just how I adjust to it. I'm a person that always falls down, get(s) back up. I'm sure you guys know about my career. It's, 'Oh he's down?' I'm going to get back up. I'm going to keep on fighting. You're always going to get the great Mike on the field."

A Buffalo native, Williams said playing for the Bills is a dream come true. At 26, he said he has more maturing to do.

"Yes, I do think I need to grow up a little bit more," Williams said. "I think with me having a son, I think it makes me realize things a little bit more and how important it is and what type of future I have for him and my family. There are a lot of people depending on me, so … I do have to grow up."

Bridgewater visits: Bucs coach Lovie Smith addressed his players for the first time as a group Monday as the offseason workout program began.

The Bucs also received a visit from former Louisville standout Teddy Bridgewater, one of the top quarterbacks available in next month's draft. Each team can bring in up to 30 players for a predraft visit. The Bucs plan to visit with other highly rated quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr.

On Monday, the team also added candidates to play opposite receiver Vincent Jackson.

It officially announced the signing of former Titans and Chargers receiver Lavelle Hawkins and former Bears safety Major Wright. In 56 career games with four starts, Hawkins has 71 receptions for 771 yards and one touchdown. He played for Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford at California.

Candidates for the No. 2 receiver include Hawkins, Skye Dawson, Eric Page, Louis Murphy, Chis Owusu, Russell Shepard and Tommy Streeter.

Wright, a former Florida star, played three of his four seasons with the Bears under Smith.

Around the league

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers signed free agent receiver Jason Avant to a one-year contract. Terms were not released. Avant had 38 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns with the Eagles last season. That output was down from Avant's previous three seasons in Philadelphia, where he averaged 52 receptions and 633 yards receiving.

Avant is the third receiver the Panthers have signed this offseason, having acquired Jerricho Cotchery from the Steelers and Tiquan Underwood from the Bucs.

SAINTS: Safety Rafael Bush will stay with the team after it matched an offer from the Falcons. Bush's deal is reportedly worth up to $4.5 million over two seasons.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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