Bills’ Mario Williams doesn’t think much of Houston homecoming
Already running late for a team meeting after practice Wednesday, Bills defensive end Mario Williams informed reporters gathered at his locker that he had little time for questions.
”I’ve got time for two,” he said.
Though two questions eventually stretched into eight, it became quickly evident that Williams had no interest talking about facing the Texans, his former team, or what reception he might receive in making his second trip in three years to Houston on Sunday.
”I don’t know. I don’t really care,” he said. ”I don’t even understand why that is even is a topic of discussion.”
Never big on sentiment, Williams’ focused approach is a reflection of how little the pass-rushing star wants to risk being a distraction for Buffalo (2-1), which is seeking to rebound from a 22-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers last weekend.
The Bills were picked apart by quarterback Philip Rivers.
They managed a season-low one sack, gave up a season-high five passes of 20 or more yards, and were unable to get off the field at critical junctures. The Chargers enjoyed two scoring drives that lasted seven-plus minutes.
”The biggest thing for us is just going and winning,” the start pass-rusher said. ”We’re not worried about changing this or changing that, or flipping this or flipping that. It’s going out and competing and winning this. That’s it. That solves it all.”
And a game at Houston (2-1), where Williams spent his first six seasons, hardly registers.
”Nah, not really,” Williams said. ”I mean, it’s a football game.”
Winning hasn’t come easily for Williams in Buffalo since he created a huge buzz and raised expectations in March 2012 by signing a $100 million contract in free agency.
Though Williams has delivered with a team-best 25-1/2 sacks in 35 games, his presence has barely made a dent in the Bills’ win-loss record.
The Bills are coming off consecutive 6-10 finishes that extended their playoff drought to 14 seasons – the NFL’s longest active streak.
It has been no different for Williams, who enjoyed very little success in Houston after being selected with the first pick in the 2006 draft.
The Texans made the playoffs only once during Williams’ tenure, and yet he was unable to take part in that 2011 run because he was sidelined by a season-ending injury.
Before the start of this season, Williams acknowledged he is growing frustrated over the lack of playoff appearances.
”There’s a lot guys who never played in a playoff game. And I think they would say the same thing,” he said. ”I don’t like really talking in general about it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me.”
Williams has earned the respect of his teammates. For only the second time in his career, and first in Buffalo, he was selected a team captain in a players’ vote.
It followed a distraction-free offseason for Williams, who hardly made a peep while attending nearly every offseason workout and practice session.
That’s a switch from the previous year. Williams was the focus of a highly publicized breakup with his fiancee, which included a headline-grabbing lawsuit over the possession of a $785,000 diamond ring.
”Personally, all that stuff at home, I don’t know. I don’t live with him,” defensive tackle and fellow captain Kyle Williams said. ”But everything he’s done in here has always been the same. It’s always been the top level of professionalism.”
Veteran running back Fred Jackson has also taken notice.
”More than anything, no matter what the situation is, he comes in and he works,” Jackson said. ”He’s somebody that didn’t just get his check and then just quit working. If anything, it’s motivated him more. And that’s what guys respect the most.”
Williams dismisses questions about his high-priced contract and whether he feels a need to prove himself as one of the NFL’s top-paid defensive players.
”I’m not worried about that,” Williams said. ”I just feel like I need to step up and play and be held accountable by the other 52 guys on the field. That’s all I’m worried about.”