Last offseason, the Buffalo Bills shocked the NFL when free-agent Defensive End Mario Williams signed a six-year $96 million contract to play in western New York. Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who was the mastermind behind the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl winning defense in the early 90’s, now had an all-star defensive end to anchor his line. Sports analysts around the country were expecting the Bills defense to be one of the best in the league during the 2012 season. Many people had them finally ending the playoff drought.
These all sounded good in theory, but unfortunately for the Bills and their fans it never panned out. Williams had anything but a stellar year in Buffalo. The former number-one draft pick of the Houston Texans only had one game in which he had more than four tackles. Against Houston, he had seven. He had 46 total tackles for the season and only 10.5 sacks on the year. The Bills as a team gave up 362.2 yards per game, which ranked 22nd in the NFL. The Bills defensive line gave up 145.8 rushing yards per game. This was good enough for 31st in the league.
The season ended with people questioning what was going on in Buffalo and especially on the defensive side of the ball. Reports came out yesterday that may help shed some light on the situation. Williams, who was engaged to Erin Marzouki, has been in a lawsuit battle with the ex-fiancé over an engagement ring. Williams bought the engagement ring for Marzouki that was valued at $785,000 and now the football player wants it back. The problem with this is that Texas law states that if the man breaks off the engagement, the woman keeps the ring. Williams broke off the engagement last December, during the football season.
The most disturbing part of this entire story is a series of text messages that were released Friday. In them, Williams talks about taking three hydrocodones in the morning and taking two more later on the plane and fading away. He also says, “No money in the world should leave me with suicidal thoughts.” The scary thing is that he refers to the fact that nobody knew he did this. The date of the text message was November 11 of last year, which happened to be game day. The Bills were playing against the New England Patriots that day in New England. During the game he had three tackles and that is it as the Bills lost 37-31.
The Bills should be very much concerned about this story coming out. Not only is their $96 million man sending text messages with a suicidal messages but he also is taking high dosage of prescription drugs on game day. Football is a violent enough sport as is, but if you add in the effects of medications and drugs, there is a huge potential for someone to get seriously hurt. Starting the 2013 season, the Bills have both a new head coach and a new general manager — both of which I’m sure are not excited about dealing with this topic. The media circus that is a football training camp is already bad enough, but now we want to throw a guy out there that sent suicidal text messages on game day last season.
I’m not sure what disciplinary action, if any, will come of this situation but I guarantee this is more than the Bills bargained for last season when they inked Williams. Perhaps this explains the terrible year he had in 20112. Perhaps this is a one-time thing and everything will be back to normal again this year. Whatever the case may be, the Bills have a serious problem on their hands. Williams obviously needs some counseling and some help. The Bills are trying to rebuild a team and make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade and the last thing needed is a distraction from a star player. Whatever the cost, whatever it takes, the Bills have to find a way to eliminate the distraction before 2013 training camp starts.