|ESPN.com: Tampa Bay Buccaneers||[Print without images]|
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith continued to stand by troubled wide receiver Mike Williams during the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meeting Wednesday morning.
"I don't believe a guy should get a death sentence on one infraction," Smith said. "I made the statement that I'm not going to kick someone off the team based on them being a victim from what I was initially told. But, again, you don't get a life sentence on one incident. I look for a pattern. If a player shows a pattern of behavior that we don't feel like is what we want displayed by our Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then more drastic measures come into play. I'm not to that point right now. I haven't had a chance to talk to Mike face to face. I'm going to hold any further comment until I get a chance to talk to Mike face to face."
Williams has talked on the phone with Smith, and the receiver told the coach that his thigh injury was minor. But Smith was careful to say that the fact he's new to the Bucs doesn't mean all his players are starting from scratch.
"I'm not saying clean slate," Smith said. "We take everything into play. But I'm saying everybody has a starting spot and everything you've done is there with you. But, again, if you're on the football team right now you haven't done enough as far as the organization is concerned for you to not be there. We're talking about starting from that spot.
"Everything is factored in. I think the advantage of starting fresh is I'm not going to judge players an awful lot based on what they've done before. If they're on our football team right now and they want to come in and say it's a new day and do things the right way, that's what I'm going to go with. Mike has a court date set (on the misdemeanor charges), but we have to let that all play out into the system a little bit. That's how it is with everybody else in society, so that's the way we're going to do it, too."