TAMPA, Fla. - A cause of death report filed by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner said former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams died of several causes related to his overall health – but stopped short of saying an injury to his head was a culprit.
Williams died on Sept. 12, after being hit in the head two weeks earlier while working at a construction site.
It's unclear as to what extent the injury at work played a role, but his overall health, including dental hygiene, may have been a key culprit in his death.
"It's just sad that sometimes people forget about their mouth, and they don't think about those things, how it affects the rest of our body," Dr. Rajiv Kalra, a dentist with Agoka Dental, said.
Under Williams' cause of death, there are numerous factors listed, like bacterial sepsis, cerebral abscesses, necrotizing pneumonia due to multiple dental cavities or infections and retained tooth roots.
Dr. Kalra believes Williams may have needed some extractions that were never done.
"They’re basically saying he had cavities in his mouth, and he had teeth where the crown above the gums had broken off and all that was left is the roots that hold the teeth in place," Dr. Kalra said. "Those roots were probably infected as well as the cavities may have gotten to a point where they were in his nerve of the tooth or the center and that also spreads down into our bloodstream and could have spread from there as well."
They said heart disease also played a role.
Williams was first admitted to a hospital a day after he was hit on the head by heavy supplies falling on him. Initial CAT scans showed he had brain swelling and infections.
The medical examiner believes those may have been caused by infections in his mouth that spread through his bloodstream.
"There is huge links between periodontal disease and heart disease and things like that, and so this is an indication or it shows you how well our bodies are connected," Dr. Kalra said.
The document does not characterize how much the injury may have contributed to Williams' death. But, it does say he was a daily kratom user and had a history of marijuana use.
The Tampa Police Department is investigating whether there was anything criminal regarding prescription drugs he had taken around the time he went into cardiac arrest. Williams did have a medical marijuana license.
He was first injured while working for an electrical company at a Target on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa.
Between 2010 and 2014, he played 54 games for the Bucs and nine games for the Bills. The wide receiver notched 26 career touchdowns and had more than 3,000 yards.
He was second in the voting for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2010.
FOX 13 reached out to several family members on Thursday, but none were willing to comment on the results from the medical examiner.