Thank You, Kyle.

Since he was drafted to the Buffalo Bills as the 134th pick of the 2006 NFL draft, Kyle Williams has been the most consistent member of the Bills’ organization. The undersized defensive tackle has embodied everything Western New York is. He has made it through 12 years of constant head coaching changes, a plethora of coordinator changes, a change in ownership, and without ever playing a meaningful week 17 football game. He has endured this all while maintaining nothing but the utmost professionalism, optimism, and dedication to the team and fans.

While the organization has been in flux during his entire tenure with the team, Kyle’s play and leadership have been rare constants. Year in and year out, Kyle has played at a top level. When new coaching staffs came in, and it seemed like he would no longer be a fit, Kyle proved the doubters (including me, on occasion) wrong by showing that passion and heart can trump “scheme fit”, especially when it’s Kyle.

Yesterday, December 31st, 2017, the Bills went down to their division rival Miami Dolphins for the final game of the season with real playoff implications on the line. This was the first meaningful week 17 game in the 12-year career of our captain, the heart and soul of the team. Leading up to this game, there had been rumors swirling around that this may be Kyle’s last game in the NFL. While the 34-year-old Williams refused to address this with the media, no matter how hard they tried to pry it out of him, there has just been a feeling that we are watching his last hoorah in the NFL.

Throughout the first half, Kyle played a very consistent game. He’s still got his best in class “get off”, and he managed to get in a few QB pressures — that same consistency that fans have come to expect over the decade-plus of watching Kyle play. Little did we fans know that the greatest play of the drought would come in this game, and that it would be an unlikely play by our Pro Bowl defensive tackle that would bring many to their feet in pure joy.

In the 3rd quarter with the Bills up 13-0, the Bills had the ball — 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. With LeSean McCoy out, Mike Tolbert lined up in the backfield and the Bills were clearly looking to run on first down. What we (at least I) didn’t see right away was that #95 was lined up at fullback. The ball was snapped, and the offensive line got a push off the ball like I have never seen. With a wide open lane, Tyrod handed the ball to Kyle, who plowed the one yard for his first ever career rushing TD. After a great celebration with the offensive line, Kyle headed over to the sideline, where he was mobbed by his fellow teammates. A swarm of red, white, and blue surrounded the 12-year vet in utter jubilation for their leader. It was one of the most beautiful moments of the 17-year drought.

Seeing the love and respect the entire team and organization has for this 12-year vet, who has done all the right things on and off the field for over a decade, was a very special moment. Whoever made the decision to get Kyle in the game for this TD, kudos to them. It was an incredible moment in the biggest game of the last 17 years for the man who has been the only constant for the last dozen.

 

Go Bills!

 

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