BUFFALO, N.Y. – Defensive end Mario Williams is backtracking on attributing “kill” as a word Buffalo Bills coordinator Mike Pettine has used in describing defensive philosophy with his players.
In a series of messages posted on his Twitter account Friday, Williams clarified that he wasn’t quoting Pettine directly.
“Just to clarify a choice of words I used: The phrase ‘kill them’ has never been said by Coach Pet or any of my coaches/teammates,” Williams wrote.
“I said it as a figure of speech from my ‘perspective’ not literally or any actual intention.”
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Williams’ posts came a day after he raised eyebrows in describing Pettine’s aggressive approach to defense.
“He usually says ‘Kill them or hurt them,’ ” Williams said on Thursday after the final session of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.
Williams then smiled and added: “That’s what I always hear, kill them or hurt them. So either way, it’s not a good thing for the other person.”
Bills officials took exception to Williams’ comments.
At about the same time Williams posted his clarification, the Bills issued a statement from coach Doug Marrone denying Pettine used the word “kill.”
“Mike has assured me that he has never used the word ‘kill’ in his terminology regarding our defensive strategy,” Marrone said in the statement released to The Associated Press.
Player safety has become a hot-button issue in the NFL. The league is facing concussion-related lawsuits filed by thousands of former players.
The league is also sensitive to coaches or players using the words “kill” or “hurt” in the aftermath of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal two years ago.
• Tight end Kellen Winslow, 29, was signed to a one-year deal by the New York Jets after a solid performance during the team’s minicamp this week. Winslow was released by the Seahawks last year before playing a regular-season game for them.
• Wide receiver Victor Cruz, 26, has signed his $2.879 million tender with the New York Giants and reportedly is working on a long-term deal with the team.