ORCHARD PARK NY - NOVEMBER 28: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers escapes the rush while Chris Kemoeatu #68 holds Kyle Williams #95 of the Buffalo Bills during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28 2010 in Orchard Park New York. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
When Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams was able to take part in individual drills on day one of the team's OTAs this week, it was considered a surprising step forward in his progress coming off of Achilles surgery last season. It should be considered even more surprising, then, that Williams was seeing limited 11-on-11 team work by the end of the first week of spring practices.
Williams told reporters after practice on Friday that in the last two days, he'd participated in "not quite 50 percent" of the first-team reps in practice (which only amounted to nine total plays over the two days). He also said that the goal in getting ahead was so that he could "hit the ground running" when training camp begins on July 26.
In 2010, Williams was easily the most dominant defender in Buffalo, and a case could have been made that he was the best player on the team, period. He and Marcell Dareus were supposed to form a potentially elite defensive line duo last season, but long-endured bone spurs finally caused an Achilles injury that ended his season after just four games.
The injury to Williams came just about two months after he signed a six-year, $39 million contract extension with $17 million guaranteed, his second extension in six years with the Bills.
Williams had been replaced by veteran Dwan Edwards on the first-unit defensive line when OTAs started, and Edwards is still filling in for him when he's being taken out of the lineup. For now, however, his quick return to full-team activity in the midst of lengthy rehab can only be considered major progress for one of the Bills' most important players.