Bucs talk Williams, free agency - FOX 13 News

Bucs talk Williams, free agency

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Storylines are swirling at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando. The 32 owners, along with their general managers and head coaches, are in town for a series of meetings that start today and wrap up on Sunday.

The meeting focuses on new rule changes, league issues, etc. Part of the focus for the Bucs, though, is wide receiver Mike Williams. Police say he was stabbed this week by his brother and today was the first time that head coach Lovie Smith stepped in front of the camera to talk about it.

"The information I got is that Mike is a victim," he told FOX 13. "You can't blame a guy for being a victim, hopefully we can get past this thing."

Bucs GM Jason Licht agrees with his head coach.

"Right now, until we learn more, we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt." Licht said. "I said [in February] that I'd like to not see him in the headlines. But we'll take it case by case here until we find out the full details."

Williams' brother, Eric Baylor, faces a charge of aggravated battery domestic violence after deputies said he stabbed Williams.

The Bucs hit this meeting making more free agent moves than any other team in the league. Eleven free agents signed contracts with the Bucs and Licht tells us there is one big reason for that.

"We thought it would be unfair to ask the fans to be patient with us," he explained. "We wanted to go out and sign as many good players as we could to be competitive this year and strive to win a championship this year…We did not want to go back to the fans with a 'Hey, give us a couple of years.' We want to do it as soon as we can; the fans deserve it."

Tomorrow the owners will vote on rule changes. They have already approved one replay rule -- game officials will now talk with the league's Officiating Command Center in New York as they view replays at game sites.

Referees still will make the final calls on plays, but the new system is designed to speed up the process. The system would allow plays in question to be evaluated by those at the league office before the refs even get to the sideline monitor stand. Once they get to the monitor and pull the headsets on, they will be able to talk to the staff at the centralized office, which will have feeds of every game.

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