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Thursday, May 29, 2014
Bills' Williams re-enters program

By Pat Yasinskas and Mike Rodak
ESPN.com

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Mike Williams will enter a pre-trial diversion program, a move that will allow him to avoid two misdemeanor charges.

Williams wasn't present for a hearing in a Tampa, Florida, court Thursday and took part in the Bills' organized team activities for a second straight day. He declined comment about the charges after the practice.

Williams faced misdemeanor charges of trespassing and criminal mischief after he allegedly caused $200 in damage to his girlfriend's front door last December. He pleaded not guilty to the charges but entered a pre-trial diversion program in March that would have resulted in the charges being dropped had it been completed.

Hillsborough County court records show that Williams' case was re-opened on April 22, two weeks after he was traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Bills. Following Thursday's hearing, the court will allow Williams to continue his intervention program from Buffalo, according to Williams' attorney Steve Romine.

The Bills sent a sixth-round pick to Tampa Bay for Williams, who had fallen out of favor with the Bucs months after he signed a six-year, $40 million contract extension. The Tampa Bay Times reported in February that Williams' lifestyle drew the ire of his neighbors in an upscale development outside Tampa and that he agreed to pay $43,000 in damages to his homeowner after threats of eviction.

"There's a pattern here and it's disturbing," Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said in February of Williams' behavior.

In March, Williams was hospitalized after being stabbed in the thigh at his Tampa home. His brother, Eric Baylor, was charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence in the incident.

Bills coach Doug Marrone, who coached Williams for part of the 2009 season at Syracuse before Williams left the team, expressed a desire to give Williams a second chance.

"Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League," Marrone said in April.