Kyle Williams, the 13-year Buffalo Bill and six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, has announced his retirement after the conclusion of the 2018 season. The home finale against the Miami Dolphins will be the final game of his career.
Williams started 33 games for the LSU Tigers in college, then was a fifth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2006 NFL Draft. Williams made an immediate impact, surpassing first round rookie John McCargo on the depth chart, and he became a starter by the second month of the season. Williams finished his rookie year with 53 tackles, four for a loss.
His playmaking abilities unlocked before long. Williams will finish his career with at least 48.5 sacks and 102 tackles for loss, pending the remaining game in the season. He ranks fifth among sack artists in the franchise record books, first among defensive tackles. The only players who managed more sacks in a season than the 10.5 he notched in 2013 were Bruce Smith, Mario Williams, and Aaron Schobel.
The special part about his career was the way Williams overcame adversity every step of the way, growing into the team’s strongest leader. Beyond his rookie year trials, Williams faced a challenge when the team shifted to a 3-4 in his fifth season, and asked the 300 pounder to take on multiple blockers as the nose tackle. He responded by recording a career high in tackles and TFLs. Issues with bone spurs and an Achilles injury cost Williams all but five games in the 2011 season, but he returned with a Pro Bowl performance in 2012 and beyond.
No adversity was fiercer than the team’s playoff drought. It cost a number of great players their chance at an extended season, including Schobel, who retired after nine seasons without a ticket to the dance. Williams was thought to contemplate retirement late in his career, especially after the disappointing end to Rex Ryan’s tenure. He stuck around with a short term extension as the Sean McDermott era began, and was rewarded with the first playoff game of his career. The priceless moment when he and his teammates realized the Bills would head to the playoffs as Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd completed their comeback was recorded in a viral video.
In an open letter, Williams thanked the Pegulas, the Wilson family, his teammates, coach, GM, and Bills fans for their unwavering support throughout his career.
From all of us here at Buffalo Rumblings, we want to congratulate Kyle on his outstanding career and thank him for representing the city of Buffalo for the past thirteen seasons.