When Harrison Phillips was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the Bills in late April, the comparisons were already being made between the Stanford defensive tackle, who had yet to play a down in the NFL, and the longtime anchor of the Bills defensive line, Kyle Williams.
The two did their best to put those comparisons to rest, as did head coach Sean McDermott throughout the season.
After wrapping up their final practice of the season on Friday, Phillips stood, watched and listened as Williams explained his reasons for retiring after 13 seasons.
When asked to talk about the progression he’s seen in Phillips this year, Williams responded, “Who? I don’t know him.
“The only thing I know for sure is Harry is not allowed to wear 95 next year. It has to have at least a year off. I think I reserve the right to sell it to Harrison when the time is right.”
Williams then added he was “excited” for Phillips’ future.
“I think he’s going to be a great player, because more than anything else, he cares. He wants to be good, he prepares because he wants to play well. Sadly enough, that’s not always the case in this league,” Williams said. “Guys that have grit and are tough and want to be good, those guys have got a chance. I can’t wait to watch him play. I’m excited for him.”
The two have had some fun throughout the season and even the holidays, which included them re-enacting the “To Me You Are Perfect” scene in the movie Love Actually.
“This year flew by so fast — so, so fast. But I tried the best I could to smell the roses and that’s due with some of the things (Kyle) told me,” an emotional Phillips said. “Hearing him talk about how fast it goes, and it doesn’t come back again. It’s just how it is. This will be the last game I get to play with Kyle and it’s tough.”
“I wear my heart on my sleeve and this is somebody I care about. I just think about the different ways he could have treated me with all the comparisons and things like that. He really welcomed me in with open arms, taught me so much in the last year than what I learned in the last 10 years playing. I’m not going to get that anymore.”