By Tim Graham
The NFL is investigating whether the Buffalo Bills have violated any league policies by failing to list defensive end Mario Williams on the injury report, ESPN has reported.
Williams hasn't tried to hide the injury. He has grumbled about a sore left wrist for a few weeks and has worn a brace in plain view. Bills coach Chan Gailey first publicly mentioned Williams' wrist injury Aug. 27.
But Williams has yet to appear on an injury report this season.
The issue is whether Williams should be listed or not. He has participated fully in every practice. That said, the NFL wants teams to identify injuries to reduce the chance of people trading inside information for gambling purposes.
Gailey declined to comment about the ESPN report after Sunday's 45-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Buffalo News on Thursday reached out to an NFL spokesman about whether Williams should be listed on the Bills' injury report given that he has declared his left wrist has negatively impacted his performances. The NFL still has not responded to The News' query.
I asked Williams what he thought about the situation.
"All I do is I go out and I practice," Williams said. "I brace it up, do whatever I need to do to practice, and I play in the game. Now, I don't report anything. I don't know all the odds and ends about [the injury report]. I don't know if you go through practice if you report that or not. The players don't control that.
"I didn't even know if I was on the injury report or not. I don't check injury reports. That's not what I do."
For his own curiosity, I informed Williams he has not been on an injury report.
"I've mentioned it before," Williams said. "The coach has actually said it before about my wrist. I've been asked before how my health was after the Jets game. I said my wrist was banged up.
"Obviously, I'm wearing a cast. Anybody watching film will realize something's wrong with my wrist. I haven't hid anything."
Here is the NFL's policy on injury reports, with the most pertinent paragraph in bold:
"It is NFL policy that information on all injured players be supplied by clubs to the league office, the opposing team and local media each game week of the regular season and postseason (including for the two Super Bowl teams the week between the Championship Games and the Super Bowl). The information must be credible, accurate and specific within the guidelines of the policy.
"All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.
"This policy is of paramount importance in maintaining the integrity of the NFL.
"The intent of the policy is to provide a full and complete rendering of player availability. The information must be reported in a satisfactory manner to all parties, i.e., the opposing team, local and national media, broadcast partners, etc., for dissemination to the public through the news media.
"The weekly personnel/injury reports have been a cornerstone of the public's confidence in the NFL for many decades. The credibility of the NFL, our teams, owners and team personnel requires full compliance with these policies, which will be strictly enforced."