The longest-tenured player on Buffalo's roster will continue to hold that title for one more season. Kyle Williams agreed to terms with the Bills on a one-year deal, just a day before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Williams, who will be entering his 13th NFL season in September, said he knew he wanted to continue his professional career pretty early in his decision-making process.
"When it comes down to it, as eloquently as I can put it, I haven't exhausted myself in pursuit of what my dream is for playing this game, playing for this organization and chasing being a champion," said Williams. "Buffalo is home, it's where I want to be. It's where I want to win. I couldn't be more excited."
The ball appeared to clearly be in Williams' court as the Bills expressed a desire to re-sign the five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle as recently as the NFL combine earlier this month. The two sides had to talk contract, something that really didn't gain much traction until early this week.
"The closer we got into the start of what free agency brings, I just really kept my focus on what I wanted to happen and what I wanted to do and we were able to get something done to bring me back where both sides are happy," said Williams. "It's amazing how things can ramp up when there's a league-wide deadline. So the last few days we really sunk our teeth into it and just knocked it out. I've talked to all the staff and everybody is fired up."
Set to turn 35 in June, the defensive tackle has been the unquestioned heart and soul of the team, as the Bills successfully ended the franchise's 17-year playoff drought.
Williams had a cameo role on offense in the team's season finale at Miami that they had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive when he plunged into the end zone from a yard out after lining up as a fullback.
Williams showed no signs of slowing down last season making 16 starts while contributing 41 tackles and finishing second on the team in sacks.
Just as valuable as Williams was on the field, it was his leadership in the locker room that helped first-time head coach Sean McDermott reinforce the culture change that had to take place for the Bills to grow into a successful franchise again.
"You know how I feel about Kyle and what he's meant to our community in Buffalo over the years and what he's meant to our football team," said McDermott. "He meant a lot to me this past season in the way of connecting my message to the locker room at different points throughout the year so the leadership part of that was big for us. I think the fit is important and the fit is there, obviously."