Considering how bad the injury looked, the Buffalo Bills and Aaron Williams will take this. After being taken away on a stretcher inside an ambulance in Sunday's 40-32 loss to New England, Williams was back at the team facility Monday, coach Rex Ryan said.
"Aaron was in the building today," Ryan said. "So he was cleared from the hospital. He's stiff and sore right now. He kind of has a little thing on his neck and stuff. So we'll see how it progresses but thank goodness he was cleared. So he's doing OK."
Asked if Williams could recover in time for the Bills' next game in Miami, Ryan said "that's probably a stretch," adding that it's too early to say.
Williams injured his neck diving to stop Julian Edelman at the pylon on the receiver's 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He laid on the turf for several moments with various players praying over him, bringing back memories of dozens whose careers have ended in such a scene.
But the safety passed all necessary tests at the hospital Sunday evening, was released and will be back much sooner than anyone could have thought Sunday.
No player set the tone inside the locker room for this game quite like Williams, who said he doesn't like the Patriots and was taking this game "personal."
On the field, however, Williams wasn't able to harness all that energy. He was flagged for taunting on a Patriots extra point (Ryan said he couldn't see what happened) and then unnecessary roughness on Corey Graham's fumble recovery. On the latter, the Bills could've started their drive on New England's 33-yard line. Instead, they were at the 48 and were forced to punt after three plays.
Ryan calls Williams "a physical player," and says he likes that about him. But the safety took it so far on Sunday that coaches benched him after the flag for Bacarri Rambo.
"We just wanted him to relax and catch a breath," Ryan said. "He had a couple penalties and sometimes you step away from it and you come back in and you've had a chance to cool down a little bit. By then, every three plays we were back out there on defense. That was important to give him a little rest
"We're going to still play physical, there's no doubt. We will play physical and play the way the game should be played. That's what we'll do. But we've got to eliminate the foolish things and the after-the-play things. That's not being aggressive. That's being selfish more than it is being aggressive. Those are the things we have to fix."