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Prosecutors drop DUI charge against Bucs receiver Mike Williams

TAMPA — The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office will not prosecute Bucs receiver Mike Williams for a charge of driving under the influence.

The rookie was arrested in November, 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. and weaving between lanes.

Tests indicated that 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 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.

Williams declined to comment, but 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."

Asked his assessment of the videotape showing the field-sobriety test, Shein was unequivocal.

"Mike Williams was not impaired that evening and the videotape confirms that," he said. "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 whole ordeal took a bit of an emotional toll on Williams, Shein said, considering the questions about his history at Syracuse and his attempt to walk a straight-and-narrow path since being drafted.

"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 had the support of his team throughout. Coach Raheem Morris opted to play Williams two days after his arrest in a game at San Francisco.

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

Williams, a fourth-round pick from Syracuse, may have been the steal of the 2010 NFL draft.

He was considered a first-round talent, but his stock dropped because he left the Syracuse team with three games to play after missing curfew for the second time in 2009.

Williams was the first player in the Bucs' 2010 class to sign with the team, agreeing to a four-year deal worth about $3.15-million on June 4 so he could begin preparing for his first pro season. He made a quick impression on the Bucs in rookie minicamp and was a starter in the regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Williams led all rookie receivers with 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns, breaking Joey Galloway's club record for receiving TDs. In fact, Williams is the first rookie to have double-digit touchdown receptions since Randy Moss in 1998.

That performance earned Williams a spot on the Sporting News All-Rookie NFL team. Williams also is one of five finalists for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Prosecutors drop DUI charge against Bucs receiver Mike Williams 01/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 7:18pm]
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