Mike Williams: "I didn't quit."

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wearing a serious expression on his face and staring a questioner directly in the eye, Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams wanted to make one point emphatically clear. "I didn't quit," Williams said this week at the NFL scouting combine. "I just want everybody to know I didn't quit."

Williams' mysterious departure from the Syracuse football team has been cloaked in relative secrecy.

Williams had a serious falling-out with coach Doug Marrone that ended his tenure with the Orangemen.

Williams wasn't exactly the only scholarship player to leave the program since Marrone's arrival. There were a lot of players who didn't stay, but it's still an important matter for Williams to explain to the NFL.

Wiliams declined to elaborate on the reasons why he didn't complete his career at Syracuse, but said he's been honest and forthright with NFL teams.

"I've been talking to all the NFL teams about that, I want to leave it at that," Williams said. "I want everybody to know is I didn't quit. I'll leave that story at that. All the teams know the whole story. I don't want to make it a big media story."

Williams is an athletic 6-foot-2, 220-pounder. Just check out hisYouTube video where he beats NBA player Donte Greene in a slam-dunk contest on the Syracuse campus.

Williams' draft stock could rise with a solid round of interviews and a fast 40-yard dash time.

He's expected to test extremely well here at Lucas Oil Stadium.

And he's projected anywhere from the second round to the third round currently.

He predicted that he'll run the 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range.

"Everybody thinks I'm going to run a 4.5 because I weighed in at 220," he said. "If I can run a 4.4, I can move up a whole lot."

Williams has been working out at API Performance in Pensacola, Fla., to prepare for the combine, catching passes from Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour.

"We've been out there throwing a lot," Williams said. "Sam Bradford is out there too, but he's not really throwing like that. Basically it's been Dan LeFevour."

At Syracuse, Williams played for three head coaches and four offensive coordinators.

"It was kind of hard, but I got through it," Williams said.

In seven games last season, he caught 49 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns. For his career, he registered 133 receptions for 2,044 yards and 20 touchdowns.

As a sophomore, he caught a career-high 60 passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Williams didn't shy away from discussing some of his issues at Syracuse, which included a suspension for an academic violation and another unspecified infraction where he broke team rules.

"I want to let them know that I'm a nice person, I'm a good person," Williams said. "School was just my problem. I had bad judgment when I was young. School has been my problem, I want to let them know I can play football and be there for that team."

He said he has scheduled a meeting with the Baltimore Ravens, but has yet to meet with his hometown Buffalo Bills. He has also met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the St. Louis Rams.

Williams expressed confidence that he'll succeed in the NFL.

"I think I'm ready to play at the next level," he said. "I think I can compete out there, but it's hard to tell. The biggest adjustment is going against corners who have the same talent as me and adjusting to that speed."

Williams is determined to succeed after growing up in a tough part of Buffalo in a single-parent household. For the most part, it was just him and his mom.

"We were kind of in a rough neighborhood, it was kind of hard," Williams said. "My uncle took me under his wing and let me know that's not the way I want to go and I took the college route."

And now he's trying to run a fly pattern into the NFL after taking a detour this past season.

If Williams can convince teams that any trouble from the past will remain in the past, he could make an impact in this league with his size and ability to run after the catch.

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