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WR Williams gets warm welcome back to Buffalo

Posted Apr 7, 2014

Buffalo's newest wideout got a heck of a welcome back to the city where he was born and raised.

He was on his way home by plane just hours after the Bills and Buccaneers had completed the terms of a trade sending wide receiver Mike Williams to Buffalo in exchange for a 2014 draft choice. Williams still had to pass a physical, but as far as the fellow Buffalonians on his plane were concerned it was cause for celebration.

“Flying in on the plane it was crazy. It was like fan day on the plane,” Williams said. “They were going crazy the whole plane ride here. When I landed I took a lot of pictures with fans.”

Standing amongst the throng of fans in the airport terminal waiting for him was Bills head coach Doug Marrone, the same coach whose first season as head coach at Syracuse ended without Williams on his roster. It was a symbolic turning of the page for both men.

“It was good to see him pick me up from the airport himself,” said Williams. “It was good to see him again. I can’t wait to play for him.”

Even before the trade was complete with Tampa Bay, Marrone spoke to Williams by phone to assure him that he absolutely wanted him on his roster, knowing that might be a question for the wideout after his Syracuse career ended prematurely while Marrone was head coach of the Orange in 2009.

“I talked to coach Marrone first and he said it was his first year coaching and he made mistakes, I made mistakes, situations weren’t handled how they were supposed to be handled,” said Williams. “We got rid of our past and he said we’re moving forward and now I’m here.”

Spending an afternoon at the local mall over the weekend, Williams got the same kind of reception that he received on the plane ride home.

“At the mall yesterday I was stopped at the store for an hour and a half from just me walking through,” he said. “It’s kind of like playing back at Riverside. All my family there and everybody there at every game. I get a chance to see my son more. He just turned one a couple of days ago. That was a big thing for me too.”

The majority of Williams’ family still lives in Buffalo. They were naturally over the moon about the receiver’s return to play for the team he grew up watching.

“They love it. When they heard that I was going to be a Buffalo Bill it was like they were playing in the NFL,” said Williams. “They love seeing me back here. They want to see me play in person. Tampa was a long way for them to come watch me play.”

And though some might feel the weekly pressure of playing in front of your friends and family Williams sounds as though he’ll be inspired by it.

“I just go out and play,” he said. “I went to Syracuse and played there and they all drove to the games there and I still went out and performed. It makes it a little more exciting playing in front of your family. You want to succeed in front of your family.”

Now entering his fifth season in the NFL Williams will get that chance.