Toronto Argonauts running back Karlos Williams opened up about his departure from the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and did not mince words when it came to his feelings about former general manager Doug Whaley.
"Doug Whaley can eat a d---," Williams told The Athletic's Matthew Fairburn. "Doug Whaley can die in a hole and drink bleach. I’m dead serious. The reason I didn’t play in the XFL is because Doug Whaley’s name was on it. I’m dead serious."
A fifth-round pick out of Florida State in 2015, Williams immediately made an impact as a rookie with the Bills in a tandem that led the NFL in rushing alongside LeSean McCoy.
In 11 games in his rookie season, the 22-year-old Williams rushed for 517 yards on 93 carries with seven touchdowns. He added another 96 yards receiving with two more TDs.
That off-season, Williams says, was his first real break from football in his life.
“I was a kid," Williams said. “You give a kid a lot of money, what do you think the kid is going to do? He’s going to have fun with it. I mean, I made some poor choices.”
Not partaking in the team's off-season conditioning program due to the birth of his son, Williams arrived at mandatory mini-camp that June having gained so much weight that he was unable to actually practice. Training camp didn't go any better when Williams was hit with a four-game suspension due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. He would never appear in another game again for the team, released ahead of the Bills' first preseason game.
In retrospect, Williams says there was nobody to blame but himself.
“I wasn’t actually practicing because I was a danger to myself, hurting myself because the weight was unsafe," Williams said. "I didn’t take it seriously. So when I got released I was like, ‘Woah, it’s game day and you didn’t give me a chance to perform.’ That’s not true. I had a chance to perform all offseason. I had a chance to work out, I had a chance to eat right. I had those opportunities. I just didn’t take advantage of those opportunities."
While Williams says he has fond memories of the Bills, the fans and the organization, he maintains hard feelings for Whaley, believing that he gave up on him too soon after assurances that he wouldn't.
“You know what’s funny?” Williams said. “When I was in Buffalo, I knew something was wrong when they drafted Jonathan Williams. I knew something was up. Y’all had alternative plans. Y’all bring Reggie Bush to camp and allowed him to practice? Reggie Bush went negative rushing yards for the season. And y’all release me?"
Williams subsequently signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers that October, but was cut upon receiving a further 10-game suspension. In June 2017, Williams failed a third test and was suspended for a full year.
Signing with the Argonauts last November, Williams, now 26 is ready to prove naysayers wrong and show that he still has a lot to offer.
“People poke the bear,” Williams said. “And now the bear is awoke. And now the bear is hungry. All the people that bad-mouthed me, all the people that talked bad about me and my family and my wife and my kids, whatever they said, you poked the bear and now the bear woke up. I’m out of hibernation. I’m going to go to Canada and I’m going to tear it up. They have no idea what’s in store for them. I’ve been missing football for so long and I haven’t had the chance to go dominate. That’s exactly what I’m going to go do.”