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Karlos Williams clears waivers, becomes free agent

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The Karlos Williams experience is curtains in Buffalo.

On Saturday the Bills released the running back and Williams cleared waivers Monday, becoming a free agent.

After arriving to camp out of shape, Williams was also set to serve a four-game suspension to start the year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Shortly after his release, Williams thanked the Bills on Instagram for giving him the opportunity to play for them.

"I've always said this is a performance based business and the release of Karlos Williams was strictly performance based," Bills general manager Doug Whaley told reporters. "He came in behind the eight ball and never caught up and there was other guys on the roster that moved ahead of him.

"So in light of that we thought, why hold on to him, why don't we give him a chance to maybe find another job out there in the league? We weren't going to hold on to him to the end knowing he wasn't going to make the team."

Williams infamously started camp on Buffalo's active/non-football injury list after showing up 20 pounds overweight. The second-year power back admitted in June that he tacked on the extra heft while tending to -- and eating with -- his wife during her pregnancy. A noble gesture, but not what the Bills were expecting.

Coach Rex Ryan, loyal to a fault with his players, assured reporters earlier this month that the back's roster spot was safe, saying: "We're not going to give up on Karlos Williams. I can tell you that."

That changed Saturday -- just hours before the Bills face the Giants -- leaving Buffalo without the runner who plowed for 517 yards and seven rushing touchdowns on just 93 carries as a rookie.

In Williams' absence, Reggie Bush, Mike Gillislee and promising rookie Jonathan Williams will be asked to pick up the slack behind workhorse LeSean McCoy.

While surprising, it's an understandable move by the Bills. The Williams saga was an unnecessary drama for a team that has already been blitzed by the injury bug. Buffalo needs healthy players more than it needs an overweight, suspension-addled back who doesn't appear plugged in to the task at hand.

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