Kyle Williams’ last game in Orchard Park could be Sunday vs. Dolphins
By: Nick Wojton
ORCHARD PARK – Kyle Williams and the Buffalo Bills have been synonymous with one another for more than a decade and the 34-year-old defensive tackle might be playing in his final home game in Orchard Park on Sunday when the Miami Dolphins come to town.
The contest is one of mega proportions for both sides in terms of the playoffs as both are fresh off victories last week. The Bills (7-6) topped the Indianapolis Colts 13-7 in a snowy overtime game while the Dolphins (6-7) beat the New England Patriots 27-20 on primetime during Monday Night Football.
A loss for either would be devastating in terms of their post season hopes. That’s the factor that Williams was most concerned about Wednesday.
“I try not to think about it (being his home finale) or I don’t think about it because it’s a distraction for me, mentally,” Williams said. “There’s enough trouble in the day getting ready for the Dolphins and trying to finish this strong and get to where we want to go and accomplish our goals,” Williams said. “I’m not going to make it about me. I’m not going to think about it in those terms.”
Williams has 567 combined tackles in 164 games played, the most by a defensive tackle in team history, along with 42.5 career sacks, also the most of any defensive tackle in Bills history.
While Williams unveiled his usual way of taking the spotlight off himself and making the subject at hand about the team as a whole, he can’t escape getting the respect of those around him.
Williams, a fifth-round pick out of the Bills in 2006, has been in Buffalo for the entirety of center Eric Wood’s career as Wood was a first-round pick of the Bills in 2009. Wood said he’s hoping Sunday is not the last time the two are teammates in Orchard Park.
“There’s no way that I’m not going to hard press him after the year to come back,” Wood said. “But, phenomenal teammate, player, father, husband, there’s not enough good things you can say about a guy like that. He knows that, I’ve told him. I’ve looked up to him since I’ve home here. He only got here a few years ahead of me, I’ve been so fortunate to have a guy like him, be here every step of the way.”
Along with players such as Wood having a tremendous respect for Williams, his head coach in Sean McDermott does as well. When taking the reins as head coach, McDermott did so with a level of power unmatched by several of his predecessors proven by roster moves conducted. McDermott made sure he convinced Williams to stay instead of allowing to retire and trying to get younger at the position.
The coach said Williams is everything he thought the defensive tackle would be.
“Oh, yeah. I mean, he’s – you know, I knew of Kyle and his skill set on the field certainly before I got here. From an intangible, off the field standpoint, leadership-wise, off the charts. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Kyle and his family and he’s a big part of what we do here,” McDermott said.
Williams said hearing those words from his teammates are gratifying.
“It means a lot. Any time you come in here and spend as much time as I have with these guys, you pour a lot of yourself into guys. When you mean something to them, it obviously means a lot to you. I know everybody can see the pre-game and the post-game and stuff like that. But really that’s just the end of the week. The real work comes now, Monday through Saturday. That’s where bonds are built and that’s where guys earn respect,” McDermott said.
Williams also tipped his cap to the fans who have supported him throughout his career from head coach-to-head coach during a tumultuous time in the franchise’s history when the team has not made the postseason in 17 years.
“Our fans here are the toughest damn people in the word. They’re the reason I’ve been here so long and they’re the reason why I’ve been here so long and the reason I enjoy being here so much,” Williams said of fans sitting in blizzard-like conditions to watch the Bills top the Colts 13-7 in overtime. “They deserve as much credit as anybody and I love being here, I love playing for those guys. It’s amazing.”
Williams did not practice on Wednesday as he’s nursing a groin injury; however he did participate in team stretching drills. Williams was listed with the same injury last week and was limited in practice leading up to the game, but Williams did not miss the game.