Bills DE Williams fails to mediate ring dispute

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By JOHN WAWROW, Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Bills defensive end Mario Williams isn't any closer to getting back his $785,000 diamond engagement ring from his former fiancee, Erin Marzouki.

And Marzouki's attorney, Tony Buzbee, upped the ante on Friday by releasing a series of text messages he said were between his client and Williams that indicate how despondent the player was over their breakup in November.

Without going into detail, Buzbee said in an email that a court-encouraged effort to mediate the dispute was unsuccessful in Houston earlier in the day.

Accusing Williams of experiencing "dramatic mood swings" throughout the engagement, Buzbee also released an exchange of texts he said he copied off his client's phone on Nov. 11.

During the exchange, Williams wrote: "No money in the world should leave me with suicidal thoughts."

Williams also wrote that he took three hydrocodones that morning — that was the day of Buffalo's game at New England. And he planned to take two more on the plane home. Hydrocodone is classified as a narcotic, and prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Marzouki responded by urging Williams to get help.

"Why don't you talk to someone? Clearly you're not happy & if your takin pills that's bad," she wrote.

Williams apologized, and then wrote he agreed with her that he's furious and should not have texted her in "this state." Williams added: "I need to go back n my shell. There's no telling what Ill do to myself at this point. I'm sry Ill disappear from now on."

Messages left with Williams and his attorney, Monica Orlando, weren't returned.

Williams did post several notes on his Twitter account Friday night — among his first since July. Though they didn't mention Marzouki or the lawsuit, the messages posted were in defense of his character.

"I'm still here and always will be," Williams wrote. "I'm too strong for ridicule and the childish extremes those will do to try and taint a persons name when in reality you make me stronger, hungrier and more determined."

In a separate post, he wrote: "The true character of someone is always revealed in times that we don't typically agree with. In these times it's how you respond and portray yourself to others that shows the ethics, character and true morals of a person. What's shown speaks for itself!"

Williams filed a lawsuit in Texas' Harris County district court May 3, demanding Marzouki return the ring and accusing her of breaking off the engagement in January. He alleged, Marzouki never had any intention of marrying him, accused her of absconding with the ring and using the relationship as a means to get at his money.

Williams is entering his second season with Buffalo. In March of last year, the Bills signed the free agent to a six-year, $100 million contract — the richest awarded to an NFL defensive player.

Marzouki filed a countersuit this past week, calling Williams' claims "ridiculous" and "patently false," and accused the player of breaking off the engagement.

Marzouki added that Williams made it "abundantly clear in writing" that he wanted her to keep the ring following their last of many breakups in December. And, she said, Williams also communicated his wishes in text messages to her father and brother.

On Friday, Buzbee accused Williams of filing the lawsuit out of anger after Marzouki refused to reconcile after the last breakup.

"Ms Marzouki will not be bullied," Buzbee wrote. "In the court system, no matter how rich you are, everyone is treated equally."

Buzbee released a three-page long series of texts off his client's phone. The first 15 were blacked out, as were the last 15. In between, there were 30 consecutive texts that were shown to be exchanged between Williams and Marzouki.

In suggesting Williams needed help, Marzouki writes: "The way you are handling it us incredibly self destructive."

Williams responds by writing: "Leave it alone. It's my business. I will get through it." He then added: "Ill focus on getting better all together and being string for myself."

Williams was at the Bills facility last week taking part in a three-day voluntary minicamp, and briefly discussed the lawsuit on Tuesday.

He referred to it as "something that happened and it is what it is," adding he doesn't believe it will be a distraction.

"When I'm here, this is my haven, this is my family and this is the most important thing for me, being around these guys," Williams said. "It's all about us, it's not about anything else. Anything personal is personal. You don't mix that with what we're trying to accomplish here."

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