By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Mario Williams – Signed by the Bills in 2012

Mario Williams’ time in Buffalo started like a dream, and ended in a bit of a nightmare. Such is life in the NFL, but no one can say it wasn’t an eventful stay.

Williams was the first overall draft choice by Houston in 2006, and was an instant starter. The defensive end had 14 sacks in 2007, and was a Pro Bowl pick in 2008 and 2009. But Williams suffered through injuries that limited his effectiveness, and he became a free agent after the 2011 season.

That’s where it got interesting. Williams’ first stop on his “shopping trip” was Buffalo, where the two sides began negotiations. Williams hung around for a couple of days as talks continued. As one Bills’ fan put it, “If he does walk away at some point and talk with another team, he’s not coming back.” But negotiations instead continued to a successful conclusion. Williams signed the first $100 million contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Half of that money was guaranteed. It was an electric moment in Bills history, off-the-field department.

Williams played well for three seasons, recording double-digit sack totals each time. He was pick for the Pro Bowl twice. But in 2015, Williams’ sacks went down to five. He complained about the defense used by head coach Rex Ryan. Williams departed early in 2016, with teammates whispering in the background that the defender had given up on the team.

Williams signed with Miami for $17 million over two seasons, but only played one year before his release. He was done with the NFL at the age of 31.

Here are some highlights of his stay here:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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