You can't make this headline up. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were contemplating releasing Mike Williams after one year on a new contract because of the time he spent partying and on social media while rehabbing. And they would have signed walking-arrest-machine Kenny Britt to replace him. Because Rutgers, I guess. That, at least, is what Pewter Report is reporting.
Let's be clear here. We're talking about someone who was on injured reserve, who thus physically could not actually do anything for his team, partying too much. Doing so, he racked up $200,000 in fines for missing mandatory team meetings and rehab meetings. Which is more serious -- at least the second offense. I'm not sure why the team would care that he didn't show up for game-plan meetings he wasn't relevant for.
More interesting to me is that Pewter Report (and apparently team officials) focus so much on his social media exploits. As if posting pictures on Instagram is somehow evidence of a bigger problem. Mike Williams' "postings on Instagram really concerned the team." Mike Williams "and his group of friends and rappers, known as the Cave Man Gang - or CMG, as their t-shirts, hats and hoodies proclaim - love the nightlife." Williams is an aspiring rapper, whose lyrics "would be deemed unsuitable for minors." Williams had "three football-related posts out of 135 on his Instagram account." His "posting of constant partying pics and videos during football seasons didn't sit well with the previous regime."
Here's my response to all of this: I couldn't care less. Gerald McCoy posts lots of stuff on Twitter, Adrian Clayborn fills his Instagram account with pictures of his dog, and had Tumblr been around in 1995, Michael Irvin's pictures would have broken it instantly.
The only thing that concerns me is that Mike Williams apparently missed or was late for rehab meetings. The social media nonsense? The fact that he tried his hand at rapping while on injured reserve? The partying? None of that matters. All of that is irrelevant nonsense tacked on to create a "compelling" story of a player caught up in everything but football -- when we simply ignore it when other players do the exact same thing.
Outright releasing Williams would have been a bit of an overreaction, anyway. Mostly because, if this ESPN report is correct, Williams' 2014 and 2015 salaries are guaranteed (since confirmed by Joel Corry). So by releasing Williams, you'd save no cap space and remove a talented player from your roster. That sounds like a genius idea! Why, let's just cut everyone after a half-season injury and some parties. They're not REAL SCHIANO MEN.
And replacing him with Kenny Britt? The receiver who had 11 catches in 12 games this season for the Tennessee Titans? The receiver who has been arrested twice, been involved with the police at least nine times since coming into the league, and not someone who's known for his quiet off-field life. That's the guy you'd sign to replace someone who parties too much? Really?
Life is not a morality play, and football is not the sum total of any one player's life (except for the really boring ones). People do things outside football. Hell, Gerald McCoy just yesterday appeared on the Colbert Report, Richard Sherman writes for The MMQB and Chris Kluwe plays in a rock band. Who cares? What matters is how players perform when they're on the field. And until Mike Williams' play suffers because of his off-field activities, they're not the team's nor anyone else's concern.
So yes, be concerned about his $200,000 in fines for missing rehab and team meetings. That's a real story. But rapping and partying while on injured reserve? Get out.