Mario Williams, the Bills' $100 million man, is making himself available to the local media only once a week on non-game days. But once was more than enough to pick up on the new guy's pet saying. During a four-minute interview Wednesday, Williams used the expression "by any means necessary" four times.
But evidently, Williams didn't have the necessary means to know he was being roasted in the national media. Williams said he was unaware that former NFL star Rodney Harrison had ripped him Monday on his debut show on the NBC Sports Network.
Really, you didn't hear?
"I don't watch TV, man," Williams said. "Never have, never will. I think I've said that about a million times in my last seven years."
I'm not sure what's harder to believe - that any red-blooded American would claim to have never watched a minute of television, or that an NFL player with a Twitter account and a cell phone, not to mention friends, teammates and relatives, could be ignorant of a public media attack.
"Mario didn't hear it?" Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "Oh, I didn't either, then."
Everyone got a chuckle out of that one. For those of you who really haven't heard it, here's what Harrison, the former Chargers and Patriots safety, had to say on "Pro Football Talk":
"I actually feel bad for him because Mario Williams, he's the No. 1 pick of the [2006] draft," Harrison said. "He's financially set. So to come out as a free agent and decide to spend the prime time - basically my prime years - with the Buffalo Bills, you're not going to make the playoffs. You're not going to the Super Bowl.
"They're not very good," Harrison said of the Bills. "They don't have a franchise quarterback. The Patriots will always dominate that division. The Jets will always be second."
This came shortly after ESPN analyst Damien Woody, a former Jet and Patriot, called Williams "pathetic" for complaining about the replacement officials after his no-show debut in the opener at the Jets.
So it's been a pretty rough week for the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. This isn't quite what Bills fans had in mind when they were ready to hold a parade after the signing in March. No one expected Williams to go from the talk of the league to the joke of the league one week into the regular season.
But hey, it's only one week. There's no need to worry about Williams. Anyone who shuns TV must have his priorities in order (But really, Mario? No news shows or Jeopardy, not even PBS?).
"I mean, everybody's going to have something to say, regardless," Williams said. "Good or bad. I can't control somebody else's opinion. But I will do what I'm supposed to do here and perform. So I'm not worried about that after this first game.
"I would be angry every day if I actually paid attention to what everybody else said."
Still, it would have been nice to hear a tiny flicker of passion from Williams. He's the hope of the franchise, the highest-paid athlete in Buffalo history. Harrison basically trashed the whole Bills organization. He essentially dismissed them as dysfunctional losers with no franchise quarterback and no legitimate chance at winning the Super Bowl.
OK, so I've said the same things over the years. Harrison had a point. But instead of feigning ignorance, Williams could have defended the organization, gotten behind his embattled quarterback, and re-asserted his belief that the Bills are a rising Super Bowl contender.
Maybe that's not his nature. Fine. But I'll admit, I've had some of the same reservations about Williams lately. He seems a little too laid-back. I wonder if he liked the idea of Buffalo because, in addition to the great hunting, it was a good place to settle, a small town with a less-intrusive media, and less pressure to lead a team to the promised land.
There's also the $100 million contract, which buys a lot of expectations. That's why it was so alarming to hear Williams whine about the officials after getting outplayed by a backup right tackle named Austin Howard. Of course, he insisted he wasn't blaming anyone.
"No," Williams said. "I mean, I was just saying in general. Like I said, I put that in a whole different category during my interview. No, I was just directing that to one instance. I wasn't saying that was anything about holding me back. I was letting them know, if it's going to be like that, we'll find different ways to do things. It wasn't about me and my play."
It wasn't about his play. But Williams felt it was necessary to preface his postgame remarks by complaining about Howard poking his hands in Williams' face. It sounds as if he spent more time talking to the official than actually rushing Mark Sanchez.
Coach Chan Gailey lamented the lack of a pass rush after the opening loss. Later, he backed off a bit and said it was more about the coverage. Gailey also revealed that Williams was suffering from a wrist injury suffered two weeks earlier. It wasn't on the injury report, so it had to be minor.
"I had a little bit of a freak deal a couple of weeks ago," Williams said. "Unfortunately, it was right before the regular season. Like I said, by any means necessary. I've got to take care of it, put everything to the side, and try to get to the quarterback."
Williams said to relax, it's only one game. He'll get to the quarterback. The Bills will get their sacks, by whatever means necessary. "I appreciate everybody pointing the fingers, and they should be," he said.
Yes, they should. When you hand a player $50 million in guarantees, you expect greatness, not excuses. Maybe it's sour grapes, but Houston fans and players don't seem to miss him. I'm already wondering if what they say is true, that there's a lot less to Mario than meets the eye.