Several news sources said that Williams had died from injuries he got at work.
Mike Williams, a former NFL wide receiver who used to play for the Buffalo Bills and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stayed in the hospital after getting hurt on a building site.
Hadley Engelhard, Williams’ lawyer, told Spectrum News 1 in Buffalo that Williams, who is 36 years old, was “fighting for his life” in a hospital in the Florida area. WGRZ-TV said that Williams was being kept alive by machines. At first, both news outlets said the player had died on Tuesday night.
Tierney Lyle, the mother of Williams’ 8-year-old daughter, told the Tampa Bay Times that the player was “mostly non-responsive” when they went to see him on Wednesday. She said that he woke up briefly, looked around, blinked, and cried, but couldn’t move.
Fox News Digital asked Williams’s representatives for a response, but they didn’t answer right away.
Williams’s father set up a GoFundMe page that said his son had a “major accident” at work last Friday. The page said that a steel beam “fell on his head, causing a massive head injury” and that his brain and spinal cord were swollen and torn. Williams was paralyzed in his right arm and from the waist down because of his injuries.
Williams passed out and “never regained consciousness,” the GoFundMe says. On Sunday, he was put into a coma.
Williams grew up in Buffalo. He went to Syracuse University and led the team in catching yards as a true freshman in 2006. The next season, he made all-Big East, but he was banned for the 2008 season because of his grades.
In 2009, he caught 49 passes for 746 yards and seven scores in seven games, but he quit the team because he might have been suspended for breaking team rules after a car accident.
Even so, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and he quickly showed why.
In his first season, he led the team in receiving yards with 964, and he came close to tying the team record for catches with 65. He also scored 11 times, which was the most on the team. His great season earned him second place for Offensive Rookie of the Year, behind only Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams.
Before the 2013 season, the Bucs gave him a contract extension worth close to $40 million, but he only played in six games and was then traded to his hometown team, the Buffalo Bills, where he spent one season.
Williams was meant to miss the first six games of the 2015 season because of a suspension, but he stayed a free agent the whole year.
He was on the practice squad for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016.
Williams scored 20 scores at Syracuse, which is tied for second most in school history with Marvin Harrison, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.