Former Syracuse, Buccaneers WR Mike Williams on life support following construction accident

Mike Williams spent five seasons in the league, and last played with the Buffalo Bills in 2014.
Mike Williams spent five seasons in the league, and last played with the Buffalo Bills in 2014. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Former Syracuse and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams is on life support in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital due to injuries from a construction accident, the mother of his 8-year-old daughter told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday.

Tierney Lyle and their daughter, Mya, visited a “mostly non-responsive” Williams on Wednesday afternoon. Lyle said the plan is for the 36-year-old to be removed from life support but it has not happened yet.

“He was asleep when we went in there and he woke up when he heard our voices and his daughter’s voice,” Lyle said. “And he looked around, and he blinked and he was crying but he can’t move.”

Tuesday night, Spectrum Sports in Buffalo reported that Williams was dead. The news was picked up by multiple outlets.

According to a GoFundMe set up by his parents, Wendell Muhammad and Latrina Moore, Williams suffered a serious head injury when a steel beam fell on him during a job at a construction site that resulted in swelling on his brain as well as a ruptured spinal cord. He was left completely paralyzed in his right arm and below his waist.

More from Williams’ parents:

“On Friday, Sept 1, 2023 around 9pm Mike Williams passed out. According to doctors, he suffered from severe breathing problems and had to be rushed to ICU. This time the doctors found that his diaphragm was pressing on his lungs and subsequently caused complications with his breathing. They reported that his lungs were filled with water. The doctors were able to free the diaphragm from pressing on his lungs, removing the water and allowing him to breathe a little better. Sadly, my son Mike Williams never gained consciousness. He never woke up from the night of Sept 1, 2023 from what was reported to me as of Sept 4, 2023. Reportedly, on Sunday Sept 3, 2023 he was induced and the Doctors have him on a scheduled time to try to wake him up in 3 days (God Willing).”

Williams had two great years at Syracuse, first with a career-best 837 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2007. He followed it up with 746 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2009, which came after he was suspended for the 2008 season over an academic issue.

Williams spent five years in the NFL, first with the Buccaneers after they selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He had a dominant three-year run in Tampa, where he racked up a career-best 11 touchdowns and 964 yards as a rookie and came up just 4 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark in 2012. Williams signed a five-year extension with the Buccaneers in 2013, but had a string of off-field issues and was eventually traded to the Bills in 2014.

Former NFL defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who spent four seasons with Williams in Tampa from 2010 to 2014, tweeted his thoughts and prayers:

The Buffalo native appeared in nine games for the Bills that season, but was waived later that fall. After a brief suspension in 2015, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, though he didn’t make it back onto the field.

In total, Williams had 3,089 receiving yards on 223 receptions and 26 touchdowns in the league.

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