A Decision Looms Large For Bills Safety Aaron Williams

With a second major injury, the decision on whether or not to return to the game of football looms large for Aaron Williams.

September 9th, 2007

Week 1 of the 2007 NFL Season and Kevin Everett is injured and lying motionless on the field.

The ambulance comes out and takes Everett off of the football field.

The news comes out of a cervical spine injury. Shock and disbelief is in the air at One Bills Drive and the Buffalo Bills had never experienced anything like this.

The doctors believe that Everett will be paralysed but he ends up making an incredible recovery and can walk again.

September 20th, 2015

Julian Edelman is running down the sidelines and here comes Bills Safety Aaron Williams to prevent the score. Williams jumps like Superman to tackle Edelman and try to prevent the score.

Julian Edelman went on to cross the goal line for the six points and the Patriots would win the game but that play was larger than just six points.

Williams is lying motionless near the side of the end zone.

The crowd is quiet.

The only noise is coming from the Patriots fans in the stadium cheering for their teams’ touchdown.

A feeling washes over Bills fans as if they’ve been here before.

Kevin Everett is brought out from the memory banks. 

After Aaron Williams is taken off the field in an ambulance, the thoughts start racing through Bills’ fans heads.

Is he ok?

Is he paralysed?

Will he ever play again?

Three weeks later, Williams is back on the field against the Tennessee Titans. He’s in the game and makes a few plays but something isn’t right.

After that game, Aaron Williams wouldn’t suit up for another Buffalo Bills game until the beginning of the 2016 NFL Season.

October 23rd, 2016

The Bills lead the Dolphins 10-3. With the Dolphins driving, Jarvis Landry decides to take a hard knock at Aaron Williams.

Whether it was shoulder or head is irrelevant but Landry absolutely cold-cocked Aaron Williams.

Williams goes down.

“If I could take that hit back, I would. It’s a guy’s livelihood.” – Jarvis Landry

Being in Miami for the game, the crowd gave the typical “Oooooooo” or “Ouch” after the hit. It was a hit that could be clearly heard throughout Hard Rock Stadium. The jumbotron didn’t show the replay but the hit replayed in my head over and over as Williams laid on the field quietly.

Aaron Williams is a very vocal defender on the Buffalo Bills defense but wouldn’t run his mouth to cause a hit like that. He cares for the franchise and the Buffalo community.

Jarvis Landry is a very physical player but stated to ESPN after the hit, “I just told him to get better. You never want to see that happen to anybody. … If I could take that hit back, I would. It’s a guy’s livelihood.”

Jarvis Landry went on to be fined $24,309 for that hit but it seems as though it could cost Aaron Williams more in the long-term.

Oct 23, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) checks on the condition of Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams (23) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Future

What is in front of Aaron Williams right now is not just a career decision but a life decision.

Stay in football and risk further injury or retire from the game and live his life.

As a fan of the game, it’s tough for one to put a human face behind the helmet. We’re often rooting for our team to do the best regardless of injury. We’ve been breed to want that.

We play fantasy football and get disgruntled with injuries. Most of the time we aren’t upset for the players’ livelihood or the potential long-term effect on their life, we’re upset because we’re going to lose potential fantasy points and now your favorite team may have lower chances of winning.

What’s in front of Aaron Williams is a life choice. A choice that will take time and careful consideration.

Being off the field and seeing the effects of injuries to players and their careers is different than living it. We’re still learning about the effects of hits to the head and neck area and what they can do to a player. This leads me to believe Aaron Williams should retire from the NFL.

Aaron Williams should retire from the NFL because he is only a 26-year-old man with a life in front of him and a family to be with. He is a professional football player but most importantly, he is a human being. The life of a football player after they have had a fruitful career has been seen to be anything but sweet in many circumstances. Lingering injuries and unforeseen effects make everyday life that much harder for a former player to let go of their former job.

It is without a doubt going to be one of the toughest decisions of Aaron Williams’ life. Williams has stated that this decision will be made after the season.

No matter what Aaron Williams chooses, he will have to live with the potential lingering effects of these two unfortunate injuries for the rest of his life.

I believe no amount of money is worth the price of a healthy life.

Feel free to comment in the section below with your opinion on whether or not Aaron Williams should retire.

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