BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Former NFL player Mike Williams was put on life support in a Florida hospital this week following a work accident, according to people close to the family.
Williams, 36, started a new job doing electrical work about seven months ago in the Tampa area, a close friend told Nexstar’s WIVB, but suffered an accident on the job on Sept. 1. Williams was initially responsive after surgery, the friend said, but was placed in a medically induced coma earlier this week.
The mother of Williams’ 8-year-old daughter told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that Williams was mostly non-responsive when she visited him.
“He was asleep when we went in there and he woke up when he heard our voices and his daughter’s voice,” Tierney Lyle told the outlet. “And he looked around, and he blinked and he was crying but he can’t move.”
Williams, a Buffalo, New York native, starred in football and basketball for Riverside, making the All-Western New York team in both sports. He was an all-conference selection in football at Syracuse and also had a brief stint on the Syracuse basketball team. His NFL career spanned five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills.
Williams made the NFL’s all-rookie team in 2010, catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns after the Buccaneers selected him in the fourth round of the draft.
Williams earned a six-year, $40 million contract extension with the Bucs after compiling 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons. Less than a year later, Williams was traded to the Bills for a sixth-round pick. He was released by his hometown team after catching eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in 2014. Williams last appeared on an NFL roster with the Kansas City Chiefs during training camp in 2016.
Playing in 29 games over three seasons at Syracuse, Williams caught 133 passes for 2,044 yards and 20 touchdowns, tied for second on the school’s all-time list. He caught a pass in all 28 games he played, the fifth-longest streak in school history. One of four true freshmen to play for the Orange in 2006, his 461 yards receiving was the most by a Syracuse freshman since 1990. Williams was a second-team All-Big East selection as a sophomore. His nine-game streak with a touchdown reception was the longest in the country that year.
As a high school senior in 2005, Williams had 970 yards receiving and scored 15 touchdowns, earning Harvard Cup offensive player of the year and first-team Class AA All-State accolades. He was rated the No. 10 recruiting prospect in New York by Rivals.com before committing to Syracuse.
On the basketball court, Williams scored 1,468 points for Riverside teams that went undefeated in Yale Cup play for two full seasons. He averaged 26.3 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals as a senior. During his sophomore year of college, Williams walked on the basketball team at Syracuse and appeared in four games, scoring seven points.
Additional details about the work accident weren’t immediately available.