Update (4:40pm ET) - After a report by a Buffalo television reporter stated that Mike Williams had died, his family says the former Bucs receiver is still alive but on life support. Rick Stroud from the Tampa Bay Times, who initially passed along word of Williams’ death, confirmed the update on Wednesday afternoon.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, who played with the team from 2010 until 2013 and once looked to be a key piece of the team's future, is dead at the age of 36.
In a tragic twist, Williams is the second of the Bucs receiver from the 2012 season to have died before the age of 40. Vincent Jackson, who combined for 17 touchdowns with Williams that year, died back in 2021 at the age of 38.
Williams was died after sustaining injuries in an accident at a construction site he was working on. It's unclear what caused the accident, and details are sparse, but what we do know is that a bright young life was ended far too soon.
Buccaneers fans will remember Williams as a once-rising star who turned into one of the many misfires the franchise suffered during the 2010s. He was a banner player, a face of the franchise alongside Josh Freeman, Gerald McCoy, and Aqib Talib, but soon wore out his welcome almost as quickly as he won everyone over.
Mike Williams once provided hope for a bright future in Tampa Bay
As bad as things ended for Williams in Tampa Bay, the reason it was such a giant disappointment was because of how promising his career looked at the start.
Drafted in the fourth round back in 2010, Williams put together a standout rookie season that saw him grab 11 touchdowns, rack up almost 1,000 yards, and finish the season as a Rookie of the Year finalist.
After that, Williams quickly rose to become the Bucs top receiver, and another impressive campaign in 2011 led to him signing a six-year, $40 million deal to become a centerpiece of the future.
That never ended up happening, though, as the bright start to Williams career was quickly overshadowed by off-field antics that soured his relationship with coaches and the front office. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills ahead of the 2014 season.
Though Williams is often seen as one of the many misfires the Bucs endured throughout the 2010s, the start of his career is just as important to his story as how things ended.
Williams' 11-touchdown season back in 2010 set a franchise record that would stand until Mike Evans came to Tampa Bay. The hot start to his career represents the promise Bucs fans had in the post-Gruden era, and he did things no other receiver in franchise history had ever done.