Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams will not return to the field this season.
Begrudgingly, he's ok with that.
"He knows that I really want to play this year, but unfortunately the outcome is a lot different than I expected," Williams said Tuesday, a day after coach Rex Ryan announced Williams would sit out the final two games of 2015. "All I can do is really just get ready for next year."
Williams, who has missed all but three games this season, said his neck injury feels "amazing" since he returned to practice, but he has still not been cleared for contact. He remains on the injured reserve/designated to return list and will transition to the season-long injured reserve list next week.
"I haven't really taken any hits yet," he said. "The fact of going out there and running around a little bit, you know, I'm very happy about that."
After admitting earlier this season that he had contemplated retirement, Williams said Tuesday that thought no longer crosses his mind.
"Not at all. I'm going to be back next year – there's no ifs, ands or buts about it," he said. "That's just my mental state and that's just what I really believe in."
Williams said by the time spring practices roll around, he'll be a full participant. However, in that setting, there is no contact. He admitted that it won't be until training camp, when the team is in full pads, that he'll truly know that his neck is ready to withstand the pounding NFL players take.
That puts the Bills in a precarious position. Surely, they would like to upgrade the safety position in the offseason. Williams would be that – if he's healthy. Without knowing that, however, the team will have to prepare like they won't have him. That could make safety one of the biggest offseason priorities.