It’s hard to figure out what is really going on from the public statements made by the two aggrieved parties in cases like the legal confrontation between Mario Williams and his ex-fiancee, but the picture that is emerging suggests the possibility (note my choice of word) that Williams may be one of the millions of Americans who have the form of mental illness known either as Bipolar Disorder or Manic-Depressive Syndrome. Such people tend to go back-and-forth from being “up” and filled with excessive intensity about their lives to being “down” and significantly depressed. These mood swings happen for no apparent reason — indeed, it has to do more with chemical imbalances in their brains than with the realities they are facing.
One of the raps on Mario ever since he entered the NFL is that he tends to play inconsistently. He will have periods of time when he is a real beast on the field, tearing through the d-line and ringing up one sack after the next, and other games when he does little or nothing. Could this up-and-down style of play be connected with an underlying mental condition? It is very possible. It would also explain why his fiancee found him so hard to deal with. It’s not easy being in a relationship with someone who keeps going from one emotional extreme to another.
The Bills pay close attention to the physical condition of their players, and it seems to me that they ought to be equally solicitous about mental health as well, especially with someone in whom they have made such a huge financial investment. If Mario is indeed a victim of bipolar disorder, it seems safe to guess that his is a relatively mild case, since he is still able to function pretty well (the ones who have serious cases start doing severe damage to themselves and others, and are prime candidates for committing suicide when they are “down”). If this is a problem for him, in all likelihood he could be treated through medication. It would not only significantly improve his performance on the field, but make him a much happier person for the rest of his life. If I were Doug Whaley and/or Doug Marrone, I would be looking into this and perhaps suggesting to Mario that he get himself evaluated by a physician in the same way that he would deal with a physical affliction -- since in fact it is, at bottom, a physical affliction that can be treated relatively easily.