On Monday, the Buccaneers placed Williams, their second-leading receiver and the team's top touchdown producer since 2010, on injured reserve. That same hamstring injury was the culprit; Williams had played through the ailment in several games before and after the one he sat out, but now he'll have a chance to let it heal.
The Buccaneers did not immediately fill the new opening on their 53-man roster.
Tampa Bay's offense has taken several hits lately. Though he has not been placed on I.R., starting tailback Doug Martin sustained a shoulder injury in Atlanta that kept him out of last week's game and raised concerns that his season might be in jeopardy. Running back Jeff Demps, the Olympic sprinter who was finding a growing role in the Bucs' offense, suffered a groin injury that required surgery and has missed the last two games. And Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks had surgery on his foot after a recurrence of his MRSA infection, causing him to miss the last two games as well. There is no timetable yet for the return of Martin, Demps or Nicks.
Now Williams joins them on the sideline as the Buccaneers continue a season of adjustments on ofefnse. Unlike the aforementioned three, Williams will definitely not return; even if it was possible that his hamstring injury would heal before season's end, the Buccaneers have already used their one "injured reserve/designated for return" tag on cornerback
Williams did manage to climb four spots on the Bucs' all-time receiving yardage chart before his season came to an end. His 216 yards on the season raised his career total to 2,947, which moved him past Courtney Hawkins (2,744), Lawrence Dawsey (2,842), Michael Clayton (2,936) and Bruce Hill (2,942) and into eighth place in franchise history. Williams is also tied with former Bucs running back Errict Rhett for the eighth spot on the team's all-time touchdowns list, with 25. Those 25 scores are the most by any Buccaneer since the start of 2010, and the loss of Williams is definitely a blow to the Bucs' offense in the red zone. No other Tampa Bay player has more than 13 touchdowns in that same time span.