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Bills DT Williams eager to put foot issues behind

May 28, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams is finally looking forward to the opportunity of standing on his own two feet pain-free.

Noting he already has more flexibility in his right foot after having surgery in February to remove bone spurs, Williams on Tuesday said he fully expects to be cleared for the start of training camp in July.

“As far as the structure standpoint, it’s healed,” Williams said after the Bills opened their final week of voluntary minicamp practices. “It’s all about getting the strength and the power back in it, and getting ready to go. And that’s where we are right now.”

Williams is no stranger to the recovery process. This marks the second consecutive offseason he’s been held out of spring practices while recovering from foot surgery.

The seventh-year player missed the final 12 games of the 2011 season after having a similar operation on his other foot. The issues with his left foot were far more severe, because the spurs were tearing into Williams’ Achilles tendon, which also had to be repaired during the operation.

After experiencing familiar discomfort in his right foot last year, Williams elected to have the operation this offseason before the condition worsened.

“It was getting to the point where it needed to be taken care of, and we took care of it,” he said.

As a result, Williams is looking forward to starting a season off on the right — and left — foot for the first time since his feet first began bothering him in college.

“I don’t want to make too much about it. But I was able to play and get through,” Williams said, referring to last season during which he started all 16 games. “Now, I’m really excited about what’s in front of me rather than trying to grind through it.”

Buffalo’s fifth-round pick in the 2006 draft, Williams has been the mainstay of the Bills’ defensive front since his rookie season.

He’s a two-time Pro Bowl selection, including last season, when he made the AFC squad as an injury replacement. With defensive end Chris Kelsay retiring in February, Williams steps into the role as the unit’s longest-tenured player.

It’s a defense that’s been among the NFL’s most porous in both yards and points allowed over the previous three seasons. And it is a unit undergoing its latest makeover, with Mike Pettine taking over as the defense’s third coordinator in three years.

Pettine is introducing an attacking style of defense similar to the one he oversaw in holding the same role with the New York Jets the previous four seasons.

Though excited about Pettine’s approach, Williams said it doesn’t matter what new system is being installed.

“I just want to win,” said Williams, who has never experienced a winning season in his seven years in Buffalo. “You only get so long to play this game, and I’ve been around a little while. I’m down for anything. I’m going to be me. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. And I’m excited about it.”

The Bills had more good news to report out of Tuesday’s session, which was closed to all media not employed by the team.

The Bills announced on their website that starting receiver Stevie Johnson practiced in some team drills for the first time since hurting his back last month.

Also, starting tight end Scott Chandler participated in individual drills for the first time this offseason. Chandler has been ahead of schedule in his recovery after having surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament.

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