The knock on Mario Williams last year in Buffalo was his effort. Does he still have the desire to play the game?
Williams insisted he did Wednesday — and credited the owner of his new team, Stephen Ross, for helping inspire him.
“Meeting with the owner, it was really shocking to me,” said Williams, who signed a two-year, $17 million contract late Tuesday night. “I’ve never ever been in the room with an NFL owner and it was like talking to somebody who is 30 years old. He was cool to interview with. I want to say he’s 75? 65, 75?”
Ross is indeed 75. He has no patience for another lost season. Which is why the Dolphins have again made moves tailored to a quick turnaround, not a gradual rebuild.
People inside the Dolphins building are far bulling on Williams than outside. Many around the league wonder if his career his on a steep down-slope after he recorded just five sacks in his fourth and final year in Buffalo. Williams’ effort was lacking.
But the Dolphins believe they have an elite player and a discounted price — so long as Williams regains his hunger for the game.
“[The Dolphins] bring the excitement and a level of energy that I feel like I’ve never had before,” said Williams, who has 96 sacks in 10 seasons. “I feel like, obviously, last year was. ... there were a lot of setbacks. But nothing feels better than knowing that as a Dolphins, I’m going to be able to go out there and have an impact and be a piece of the puzzle to help the Dolphins get to a better place and to win games and be in good situations.”
Williams, who has already spoken with Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Tannehill, added: “Every day I wake up I feel like I have something to prove.