Mike Williams, ex-NFL wide receiver, breathing on his own after being taken off life support: reports
Mike Williams, a former NFL wide receiver who suffered serious injuries in a workplace construction accident earlier this month, was reportedly breathing on his own after he was removed from life support.
Williams remained in the intensive care unit of a Tampa, Florida-area hospital, according to the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday. Williams’ agent Hadley Engelhard and the mother of his daughter, Tierney Lyle, told the outlet there had been no change in his condition.
A GoFundMe linked to Williams’ father said the player had had a “major accident” at work last Friday. The page said a steel beam “fell on his head causing a massive head injury” and that there was swelling on his brain and swelling on his spinal cord that was ruptured.”
The injuries resulted in Williams being paralyzed in his right arm and from the waist down.
Williams passed out and “never regained consciousness,” according to the GoFundMe. He was placed into a coma on Sunday.
Mary Rosenthal, the mother of the 36-year-old former player, told WIVB-TV that the family needed a “Hail Mary.” She said he was taken off the ventilator on Friday.
“He said, if this ever happens to me, to pull my plug because I don’t want to live like that,” Rosenthal said. “Those are his wishes. When he was a football player, he had already signed the papers.”
Williams, a Buffalo native, attended Syracuse University. As a true freshman in 2006, he led the team with 461 receiving yards. He was an all-Big East selection the following season but was suspended for the 2008 season for academic reasons.
In seven games in 2009, he caught 49 balls for 746 yards and seven touchdowns but quit the team due to a possible suspension after he violated team rules following a car accident.
Nonetheless, he was a fourth-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2010 NFL Draft, and he impressed quickly.
In his rookie season, he led the team with 964 receiving yards, and his 65 receptions were one shy of tying the team lead. He also scored 11 times, the most on the team. His impressive campaign was good for a second-place honor for Offensive Rookie of the Year behind St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
The Bucs signed him to an extension worth close to $40 million before the 2013 campaign, but he played in just six games that year and was then traded to his hometown Buffalo Bills, where he spent one season.
In 2015, Williams was supposed to be suspended for the first six games of the season, but he remained a free agent throughout the year.
He was on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad in 2016.
Williams’ 20 touchdowns at Syracuse are tied for the second-most in school history, along with Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.
In his professional career, he totaled 223 receptions for 3,089 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.