By Sal MaioranaRochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Pittsford, N.Y.-Mario Williams was again missing in action Tuesday morning, and the whereabouts of the $100 million man were once again a hot topic at Bills camp.
Hot, only because when pressed on the issue coach Doug Marrone had nothing new to report, then grew irritated with the inquiring media when they wondered how that could be.
"As I've told you before, I have no information from yesterday, that's the God's truth," said Marrone. "I appreciate that everyone has to ask that question, I totally get it, I really do, but I promise you, I'm telling you the truth. I've had no notice from doctors or from anyone above me about the situation. As soon as we do, I'll let it out. He's still being evaluated."
A few minutes later in his daily meeting with reporters, more clarification about the situation was sought and Marrone's level of frustration grew.
"I'm a straight shooter, you can ask anyone who's known me since I was a kid; I'm shooting you straight," Marrone continued. "I understand you have a job to do, I have an appreciation for it, but my answer is it's the same situation that it was yesterday. The doctors go through an evaluation process and when they inform me, that's when I know. I get frustrated, honestly, when it gets to a point where I feel I've tried to explain myself, and I've answered the questions, and you keep coming at me."
Well, here's why the media kept coming at him: It's simply hard to believe that the head coach, for two days, has no information regarding his star defensive end.
As usual in the NFL, it's like trying to pry state secrets out of the White House when it comes to injuries, and when it's a guy with the pay grade of Williams, media and fans want to know why he's been nowhere to be found for the first three days of training camp.
Williams checked in at St. John Fisher College Friday, was on campus Saturday, and then all of a sudden, when the team took the field for its first practice Sunday night, he wasn't participating. Afterward, it was revealed that Williams had a sore foot, the severity of which was not known.
Monday, Williams wasn't even at practice, so Marrone was asked what's up. He was vague and said only that he had not heard from the doctor, or from Williams. OK, fine. One would presume at this point that the head coach would want to know what's going on, so he would call someone - the doctor, Williams, anyone with knowledge - and find out so he was ready for the sure-to-be asked question on Tuesday.
Marrone said he did not do this. It's hard to believe that he didn't, but he claims he didn't. So, when asked Tuesday what's going on, he simply repeated what he'd said Monday.
It will forever rankle me why coaches in any sport have to be so secretive about injuries. Marrone had to know he would get asked about Williams Tuesday, so why not just make the call and find out so you can answer the question, perhaps a follow up question or two, and be done with it?
Instead, he played possum and claimed he knew nothing. Hey, maybe he really doesn't, but there's no way anyone is buying that he didn't. Thus, it's not hard to conclude that either he does know and is lying to media and fans, or something else is going on that the Bills are trying to cover up. Go ahead and speculate what that might be, but I won't do that.
In the end, this entire blog post would be unnecessary if Marrone would just come armed with the proper information. There would have been no sparring with reporters, and Williams' absence would have warranted a note online and in the paper. Now, it's a full-blown story and his remarks will become the most played sound bite of the day.
And guess what? The question will have to be asked again Wednesday.