After a year away from contact on the football field, Saturday's scrimmage was an important day for safety Aaron Williams.
"Super, super nervous," he said. "I talked to Ed (Reed) and he calmed me down a bit. It's just practice, go out there like any other day."
During the second series against Tyrod Taylor and the first team offense, the safety was right in the middle of the action.
As Mike Gillislee raced down the sideline for a 17-yard gain he was met by Williams.
The running back was knocked clean off his feet and out of bounds.
"When I hit (Gillislee) I stopped to make sure I could feel everything and that I could turn my neck without feeling any pain," Williams said with a smile on his face. "When I realized I was all good, it was a sigh of relief."
Williams suffered a neck injury in the Bills' Week 2 loss to New England, while diving to make a tackle on Julian Edelman. The 26 year old would ultimately be placed on IR and missed 13 games.
As the first week of training camp progressed Williams said he wasn't going to force the issue of taking a hit or delivering one like fans are used to seeing on Sundays.
The safety delivered.
After punishing Gillislee, fellow back James Wilder Jr. was on the receiving end late in the scrimmage. The pads popped. Williams and Wilder Jr. both jumped up and continued back to their huddles.
"I mean, I've been waiting on this day for a whole year now. It feels great to get nice solid contact and realize I'm ok and I don't have to worry about if my neck can sustain any big hits," he said. "I'm not saying its the biggest hits I've had, but good enough for me to realize I can continue playing this game"
While Williams admitted afterward he's still not 100 percent, being able to get through the scrimmage and take contact was a "major step" toward being fully healthy again.
"It was a good experience, I'm glad I'm finally through it," Williams said. "I can get past it and get ready for the season."
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