Less than a month ago, Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams was telling reporters that he wasn't sure if he'd continue his playing career after suffering a neck injury back in a Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots.
"It's all about that first hit," Williams said at the time. "When that first hit gets done, that's when I'll know whether or not I should continue playing this game, or it's time to move on to a new chapter."
Williams did not have an opportunity to make that hit before the 2015 season ended, as the Bills left him on an exempt list over the last month of the season. (He did practice with the team for most of that stretch, albeit in a non-contact capacity.) But Bills GM Doug Whaley told reporters in Monday's year-end press conference that he's heard nothing but positives regarding Williams' recovery, and does not believe the fifth-year safety's career is over.
Whaley said he's gotten periodic updates on Aaron Williams (neck) and "everything has been positive." Doesn't believe it's career-ending.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) January 4, 2016
If the Bills are being pragmatic about this, they'll hope that Williams, the team's top safety, will return to the field in 2016 training camp and be no worse for the wear despite his injury scare this season - but they'll also recognize that safety is still a need area this offseason, and that it's probably not wise to bet the farm on a guy who has given serious thought to hanging it up at a moment's notice.
Williams, who turns 26 in April, is entering the second year of a four-year, $26.5 million contract extension that he signed prior to the 2014 season. He is scheduled to make $2.13 million in bonuses this offseason just for being on the roster and working out. Here's to hoping that he's fully healed and ready to roll by late July at St. John Fisher.