“This isn’t easy,” said in a letter on the team’s website. “It was never going to be. There’s no perfect time to retire from a game, a franchise, and a city that mean so much to me and my family. But it’s time to hang up my cleats.”
Following a standout career at LSU, the Bills used a fifth-round selection on Williams during the 2006 draft. The defensive tackle quickly earned a starting gig with Buffalo, and he’s been a stalwart of the Bills defense for more than a decade.
While the 35-year-old will have an opportunity to add on to his totals on Sunday, Williams is already the Bills’ franchise leader in a number of statistics, including tackles for loss (102) and QB hits (141). He also ranks in Buffalo’s top-10 in solo tackles (384, 9th), assisted tackles (223, 2nd), and sacks (48.5, 5th). While it won’t hit the record books, it’s also worth noting that the 303-pound lineman scored a touchdown on his only career carry. During his 13-year career, Williams had earned five Pro Bowl nods and a spot as both a first- and second-team All-Pro.
Last offseason, Williams signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal with the Bills that included $4.5MM in guaranteed money. The 35-year-old has continued to be productive, compiling 31 tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble. Pro Football Focus has also been fond of his performance, ranking him 53rd among 118 interior defenders. Perhaps even more importantly, Williams has had a chance to mentor third-round rookie Harrison Phillips, who could have an opportunity to take over as the starter next season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.