Tonawanda News

Bills

April 23, 2012

Bills upbeat in return to work

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BUFFALO —

The buzz is not limited to just the Bills facility, either.

"Talking to a bunch of fans around town, they let us know how excited they are about things," running back Fred Jackson said. "We feel the exact same way. We feel the organization has done some things to give us a great opportunity to go out and win football games. So we're putting a lot of expectations on ourselves."

The spark was provided by Williams, the pass-rushing specialist who became the NFL's highest-paid defensive player upon signing a six-year $100 million contract three days into free agency was the key move.

Williams made sure to be on hand for the first day of workouts, well aware of what his presence means to improving both a patchwork defense and the Bills overall fortunes. And he was reminded of that a few days earlier, when he was shopping at a local store and greeted by a nervous fan.

"He was shaking, and he was like, 'Mario, I just want you to know we're on your back,'" Williams said. "I told him, 'Thank you. I'm here to win.'"

And it's not lost on Williams that he might have something to prove, too. He was limited to playing just five games last season with Houston due to a torn chest muscle, and also missed three games in 2010 after having surgery to repair a sports hernia.

"I've been away from football for a while, too," he said. "I'm extremely anxious to get out there."

The conditioning program will continue through next month, before the Bills open a series of voluntary minicamps starting on May 29. Buffalo then closes its spring sessions with a three-day mandatory camp that opens June 19.

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