Aaron Williams is officially done with football.
He made the announcement in a Players Tribune piece he wrote and called "To Buffalo."
The moving and emotional story begins simply with "I want to start with an apology."
Williams spends much of the article discussing how he feels he wasted the first two years of his career craving "money and fame."
It was a chance meeting with a five year-old in full Bills regalia that started to change Williams' priorities. The young Bills fan said he wanted to be just like Williams when he got older.
Williams reaction was "Is that really a good idea?"
Fred Jackson also played a pivotal role as mentor and guide for Williams' maturation process. Williams took his role as community leader more seriously. He became more serious about football. In his third season, Williams had his best year.
He says he was "humbled" by Buffalo.
Williams described in detail the feeling (or lack thereof) after being injured against the Patriots on the diving tackle of Julian Edelman at the goal line.
He was numb on his entire left side for hours and it was later discovered a lack of space between the vertebrae in his neck left him susceptible to the type of nerve injuries that eventually ended his career.
"It was actually kind of crazy that I hadn’t had more neck issues before that Edelman hit," Williams said.
Williams holds no ill will towards Jarvis Landry. Even though he called the hit that ended his 2016 season "unnecessary".
However, Williams admitted he grew up a fan of vicious hits that used to be featured on segments like ESPN's Jacked Up and glorified them. "A lot of those hits were like the one Landry laid on me. So I can’t be a hypocrite," Williams said.
After being released from the Bills after the 2016 season, Williams got calls from three teams. The Texans even went so far as to have Williams pick out a helmet but later told him their doctors could not clear him to play.
Williams gave himself a deadline of December 31st to get back into football. When the sun came up on New Year's Day without a contract, he knew the football life was done.
He closed with thank you's to the many instrumental people in his life: Ralph Wilson, Terry Pegula. Rex Ryan and Fred Jackson among them.
Finally, he gave the biggest thanks for BillsMafia. Williams said he's better off today for having been a part of Buffalo.
"I was born in California and raised in Texas. But Buffalo will always be the place where I grew up — where I became a man."
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