Well, I guess that's that. Former Syracuse University wide receiver Mike Williams took to his Facebook account Tuesday afternoon to send a message out to his friends. It read the following:
"thanks cuse! thanks for everything my best time was here and to all my real fans i promise i will b somewhere where u guys can keep being great FANS WITH OUT YOU THERES NO ME and to all my haters thanks to yall 2 cause i couldnt do it with out yall SO JUST KEEP HATIN .and LAST BUT NOT LEAST to all my teammates I LOVE YALL YALL MY 2 FAMILY THANKS FOR ALL THE MEMORIES."
That would appear to quell the rumor that Williams has reconsidered his decision to leave the program. On Monday afternoon, I Tweeted that Williams quit to avoid being suspended by coach Doug Marrone for a second time. The source of that information was a starting player on the Orange defense.
The source also stated that Williams was to be suspended for, "getting into trouble with teammates." They did not elaborate on that statement, and I was puzzled as to what they had meant.
Hours later, the following appeared on the Syracuse.com fan forum:
"Here is what I heard from credible people: Williams, Bailey, Tiller, and Ball broke team rules and went to Turning Stone. In route, they got in a minor car accident. They were specifically forbidden from going there...when faced with repurcussions, Williams lost it, flipped out, and quit."
The user who posted this went onto say that Williams had realized he made a mistake and asked to be reinstated.
The post read that Marrone let the team vote on Williams' status and that the team had voted him back on. That seemed to mark the beginning of the "he's back" rumors. Part of the forum post gained a great deal of credibility around lunch time Tuesday when ESPN's Joe Schad Tweeted :
"Mike Williams had a late night vehicle incident after the last gm that was going to lead to another suspension."
Minutes later, Syracuse University announced that the Orange lineup would look a bit different on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The school issued a press release stating that center Jim McKenzie would return from injury and play. Also, defensive end Jared Kimmel would be shutting it down for the season to have his knee operated on again. But the golden nugget was buried in the last paragraph:
"The Orange will also be without running back Antwon Bailey , defensive end Torrey Ball and offensive guard Andrew Tiller , who have been suspended for a violation of team rules."
Bailey, Ball, and Tiller. The same players mentioned in the post on Syracuse.com. It took Daily Orange reporter Connor Orr less than three hours to confirm with state police what had been written on the fan forum the day before:
"From New York State Police -- Williams, Tiller, Ball and Bailey in accident 5:30 Sunday morning. Tiller (driver) not being charged."
A full story was published on the Daily Orange web site just before 4 p.m. In it, Orr and Abram Brown reported that a man named Nathan Pimrose had rear-ended Tiller at around 5 a.m. early Sunday morning. The article does not mention if the players had visited or intended to visit Turning Stone Casino.
The accident took place in Lenox, NY. The casino is in Verona, less than 10 miles away.
Syracuse.com 's Charles McChesney reports that the accident took place on Thruway I-90 and that Pimrose was driving a tractor trailer. He also writes that State Police say Pimrose was at fault for the accident. Both articles say that police do not believe alcohol was involved in the accident.