Rookie coach answers questions amicably, 24 hours after outburst.
The Associated Press The Associated Press
Many of the questions regarding Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams’ sore foot can finally be put to rest now that he’s back at training camp.
The soreness is affecting Williams’ left foot. After being examined by team doctors, Williams traveled to visit North Carolina-based foot specialist, Robert Anderson. And rest and treatment is all the player will require to allow the injury to heal in what could take a matter of days.
Those was the updates provided by coach Doug Marrone on Wednesday in clearing up two days of questions and speculation regarding the $100-million pass-rusher’s injury and whereabouts.
“Our medical staff, with additional consultation with Dr. Anderson determined that the best course of action was rest and treatment,” Marrone said. “There’s no timetable for his return, but it’s day by day.”
Marrone’s comments came after Williams returned to the practice field for the first time in three days at the team’s training camp facility in suburban Rochester. Williams opened practice working out on his own in strength in conditioning drills, and then spent the last part of the session watching from the sideline.
Williams had returned to camp Tuesday night after being examined by Anderson. He had not been spotted since Sunday, when he was held out of the team’s camp-opening practice after complaining about a sore foot.
Williams said he felt “fine,” and at no point did he fear the soreness developing into something potentially serious.
“No, I’m not worried, man. I just think it’s not that serious,” he said. “I appreciated the concern, but I’m all right.”
He added he sought out a second opinion from Anderson on the Bills’ advice.
There wasn’t much else Williams said he was allowed to discuss about the injury. He referred most questions to Marrone, citing a team policy that limits players from discussing injuries.
Williams’ foot saga had become a distraction at camp, in part because Marrone provided few details about the injury regarding his most high-profile player.
On Tuesday, Marrone ran out of patience with reporters by announcing he wouldn’t answer any more questions about Williams until he received a medical report from team doctors.
Williams said he was aware of what Marrone had said, and stuck by his coach.
“I’m pretty sure he handled it,” he said. “The head man, whatever he says, goes. I’m not going to sit here and step on anybody else’s toes.”
Williams was up early Wednesday, arriving at the locker-room facility just before 6 a.m. Soon after, he made a brief visit to peek his head into a pair of tents where two sports-talk radio stations were broadcasting.
Williams is a seven-year NFL veteran, who is entering his second season with the Bills. He created a huge buzz in Buffalo in March 2012, after he signed a six-year, $100 million contract — the richest awarded an NFL defensive player — three days into free agency.
He failed to play to those expectations last year, being part of a porous defense that was blamed for a 6-10 finish that led to the Bills extending the league’s longest active playoff drought to 13 seasons.
Injury-related questions were an issue last year for Williams after he hurt his left wrist about 10 days before the Bills opener. He complained the injury was limiting his performance before having surgery during the team’s bye week in late October. He finished the season with a team-leading 10½ sacks — seven of them coming after he had the operation.
Williams has no concerns his sore foot could eventually become as problematic as his wrist injury was last year.