Former NFL player’s Mike Williams cause of death confirmed by Florida officials

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials have released the cause of death of former NFL wide receiver and Buffalo native Mike Williams, who died in September at 36 after sustaining injuries during a workplace accident in August.

Williams played in the NFL from 2010-14 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills, and collegiately at Syracuse University. He was working on a construction site in Florida when he sustained injuries after heavy supplies landed on his head.

While his injuries were initially believed to be non-life threatening, Williams was hospitalized after his symptoms worsened that week, his mother told WIVB.

Now, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department says his death was caused by “Bacterial Sepsis with Cerebral Abscesses and Necrotizing Lobar Pneumonia due to multiple Dental Caries and retained tooth roots.” They also list Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease as a contributing factor.

A cerebral abscess is a collection of pus the develops in the brain due to infections, according to John Hopkins Medicine. It can cause your brain to swell and restrict blood flow. Bacterial sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency caused by the body’s extreme response to infection, according to the CDC. If not treated in time, it can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Williams is survived by his son, Mike Jr., 10, and daughter, Mya, 8. He had been accompanied by family in the hospital, including his mother Mary Rosenthal and brother Eric Baylor.

Over Williams’ five seasons in the NFL, the receiver totaled 223 receptions for 3,089 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was initially drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he set a then franchise record with 11 touchdowns by a wide receiver in his rookie year. That record was later broken by Mike Evans.

Williams starred in football and basketball for Riverside High School, making the All-Western New York team in both sports. He was an all-conference selection in football at Syracuse and also had a brief stint on the Orange basketball team. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before getting traded to the Bills in 2014. He last appeared on an NFL roster with the Chiefs during training camp in 2016, and had been living in Florida prior to the accident.

WIVB’s Jonah Bronstein contributed to this report.

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