Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Mike Williams died Tuesday morning at 36 years old due to injuries from a construction accident, his agent Hadley Engelhard told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
“He will be missed. He fought hard his whole life. Prayers to his family," Engelhard said.
A report that Williams died circulated widely last week but reports later confirmed he was on life support in a Tampa-area hospital Sept. 6.
A steel beam reportedly landed on his head in Hillsborough County, Florida, earlier this month. The impact caused a laceration that became infected, and Williams was placed into an induced coma upon being hospitalized, according to Buffalo's WIVB.
He was reportedly surviving and responsive after being removed from a ventilator Sept. 8.
"He goes hard in everything he does," Tierney Lyle, the mother of his 8-year-old daughter, said on Thursday. "He doesn’t give up easily at all."
This came after Lyle told the Tampa Bay Times he was "mostly unresponsive" during a visit two days prior. She noted that he woke up when he heard her and their daughter, Mya, speaking to him, but he was crying and unable to move.
Williams grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he played high school football and basketball before attending Syracuse. He was a standout wide receiver for three seasons. An all-around athlete, he even had a brief stint with the Syracuse basketball team during the 2007 season. But that year was his career-best on the football field, during which he recorded 837 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior. He followed it up with 746 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2009.
His NFL career began in 2010 when Tampa Bay selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. He made an immediate splash, earning an All-Rookie selection after notching 65 catches for 964 yards with 11 touchdowns. He went on to play four dominant seasons with the Bucs and came up just four yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark in 2012. He signed a five-year extension with the Buccaneers in 2013 and had a string of off-field issues before he was eventually traded to the Bills in the 2014 offseason.
The Buccaneers issued a statement Tuesday:
"We are saddened to hear of the untimely death of Mike Williams, which has left our organization, his former teammates and fans with heavy hearts," the team said. "We send out deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones as they mourn this tragedy."
Rest in Peace, Mike Williams ❤️🙏 pic.twitter.com/6ppABCvTJk
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 12, 2023
He played the 2014 season, his last in the NFL, with his hometown team. He retired with 223 catches for 3,089 yards and 26 touchdowns.