It wasn’t a sure thing.
“He and I have had some extensive conversations,” said Williams in a Tuesday appearance on the John Murphy Show. “I’ve spoken with (defensive coordinator) (Leslie) Frazier and (defensive line) coach (Mike) Waufle and they came to me and said they definitely want me back.
“They told me their plan and their vision and if I could see myself in it and get excited about it they definitely wanted me to come back and play. They left the ball in my court and I liked everything they had to say. I love Buffalo, I love being a Bill and I love playing football so I plan to give it my all again.”
McDermott was just as invigorated knowing Williams would be back on the roster for his first campaign as Bills head coach.
“Kyle Williams, man, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kyle and what he’s done for the Bills organization,” said McDermott. “One of our leaders and I can announce at this time that Kyle is coming back and we’re looking forward to working with Kyle.”
Williams has a year remaining on his contract, part of a one-year extension added in the 2015 offseason.
The veteran defensive tackle finished 2016 tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (11), fifth on the team in tackles and third in sacks.
Williams admitted that the team’s plans to move back to a 4-3 scheme, the kind where Williams experienced his most success as a pass rusher (10.5 sacks in 2013), had a positive impact on his decision to continue playing, but there was a bigger factor in his return.
“The scheme had something to do with it knowing how they wanted me to play and how they planned on using me,” Williams said. “But more than the scheme it was just his vision for our organization and how he wants to run the team was very attractive.”
Holding teammates accountable was something that was lacking in the minds of veteran players on Buffalo’s roster.
It’s clear that Williams believes that accountability has to start at the top with the head coach and he’s encouraged to know it will be omnipresent with McDermott at the helm.
“I think there are all different ways to coach and play. It’s what you prefer,” Williams said. “You can talk a lot, not talk a lot. As long as we’re going to hold guys accountable and we’re going to work hard and be dedicated to be the best football team, by being the best football players we can be, and you give me my helmet and my shoes and you let me go play, I’m happy. I don’t care what else is going on.”
And that’s why McDermott wanted Williams back so badly. Not only is he still an impact player, but he’s a proven leader who has the same kind of daily commitment to his craft as McDermott and his coaching staff.
“I just think it’s the commitment to the process every single day,” said Williams. “The process means competing and working every day. I think we see it the same way.”
Another thing McDermott and Williams share is the same outlook for the Bills 2017 campaign.
“We’re not here to deconstruct to re-work from the ground up,” Williams said. “We feel like we’re close and we feel we have some good pieces. As much as people want to talk about rebuilds and re-doing things, this is the NFL. A lot of times you’re not getting four or five years to rebuild something. It’s what have you done for me lately. I expect to win. I think coach McDermott expects to win and that’s the kind of team he’s looking to put out there.”