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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs WR Williams stabbed in thigh; suspect sought

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Published:   |   Updated: March 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

A trouble-filled offseason for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams continued Sunday when the 2010 fourth-round draft pick out of Syracuse was stabbed in the thigh, Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials said.

The injuries Williams sustained during an incident at his Avila home are not life threatening, according to an NFL source, but Williams was sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment, sheriff’s officials said. He was released late Sunday.

“We are aware of the situation that occurred at the residence of Mike Williams and are working with him and the authorities to get additional information,’’ the Bucs said in a statement.

“While we have limited knowledge at this time, our primary concern is for the safety and well being of all involved. We will refrain from further comment until we can get a better understanding of the situation.”

Deputies were called to Williams home in the gated Avila community at about 5 p.m. Sunday in response to what they were told was a stabbing, Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokesperson Cristal Bermudez Nunez said.

When deputies arrived at Williams’ home they learned that he had been stabbed in the left thigh with a kitchen knife by his brother, Eric Baylor, the sheriff’s office said.

Baylor, 23, has been charged with aggravated battery domestic violence and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. As of Monday morning, sheriff’s officials were still searching for him.

The sheriff’s office is asking for anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.

The stabbing incident is just the latest in a series of incidents since Williams was lost for the season with a hamstring injury in late October.

The most notable of those was a December 2013 incident in which Williams, 26, was charged with criminal mischief and trespassing after he caused less than $200 worth of damage to the door of a woman’s Tampa home.

Williams was also sued for causing approximately $43,000 worth of damage to a home he was renting in Lutz, where neighbors said he held late-night parties that were marked by blaring music and cars strewn around the property.

Williams no longer resides at the spacious house in the gated Sanctuary on Livingston community. According to the lawsuit brought by landlord Warren Gold, Williams agreed to pay for $43,000 worth of damages to the Lutz home, but failed to do so by the agreed upon deadline.

Efforts to reach Williams or his agent regarding the stabbing incident were unsuccessful Sunday.

Stephen Romine, the attorney defending Williams in the criminal mischief and trespassing case, said last month that he anticipates a “favorable resolution’’ in the matter.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith learned of the problems Williams has been dealing with shortly after taking their new jobs in January and have expressed concern about Williams’ behavior.

“Have I been disappointed in Mike Williams? Of course,’’ Smith said during a break at the NFL scouting combine last month. “There’s a standard. We’re just not going to put up with it.’’

Off-field issues have swirled around Williams before. When the Bucs selected Williams out of Syracuse in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft, his pro stock had slipped.

In college, Williams missed the entire 2008 season because of an academic suspension. In 2009, he was suspended one game for breaking team rules and then Williams quit the team with four games remaining.

On the field, though, Williams has proved to be very consistent when healthy, starting 47 of 48 games his first three years and averaging 64 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.

That production earned Williams a six-year, $40.25 million contract at the beginning of last season, but the deal has yet to pay off for the Bucs as Williams missed half the season last year with the hamstring injury.

Williams’ agent, Hadley Engelhard, said he talked with Tampa Bay management during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month to discuss his client’s status with the team.

“I’ve met with the Bucs and we’re all on the same page,’’ Engelhard said. “We’re all going to work on this thing together. Mike is a great player and he’s making better decisions now.’’

Licht was asked during the scouting combine whether Williams has anything to prove to the club’s new regime.

“He has to prove he shouldn’t make headlines off the field,’’ Licht said. “Let’s start with that.’’

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