SANTA CLARA Kyle Williams isn't holed up underground. He's not sobbing in a dark room, the curtains cinched tight. He's not cowering over death threats he received on Twitter.
Instead, Williams on Monday was standing in front of his 49ers locker, answering questions about the muffs heard 'round the football world a day earlier.
"You have to take full responsibility for it, which I do," he said while encircled by microphones and television cameras. "It's something I made a mistake on. I'll move through it. I promise you that."
Williams flubbed two punt returns Sunday in the 49ers' 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. The second occurred when he was switching the ball from one hand to the other and led to New York's winning field goal in overtime.
The first came in the fourth quarter, after replays showed the ball glancing off his knee. Williams, however, insisted Monday that the ball never touched him.
"I didn't think it hit me," he said. "I still don't think it hit me."
Williams didn't head home following his four-minute media session. He hung out in the locker room and acted like any other player clearing out his cleats and jerseys the day after the season ended.
And he was treated as such by his teammates. One of coach Jim Harbaugh's biggest achievements this season was that the 49ers became such a cohesive and congenial group, and Williams' flubs did not appear to rattle that unity.
As Williams' Twitter account was filling with angry missives, even death threats, hours after the game, guard Adam Snyder tweeted his own message: "hold your head high bro. You had an amazing season. I'm proud to be your teammate."
Snyder on Monday called the 49ers the best squad he's been a part of "by far."
"Guys are friends, not just teammates," he said. "And I don't know if it's like that everywhere. So this is a special place. There's a special thing here that is going to keep guys here for a long time."
Williams' support came from all corners of the locker room.
"I was that guy last year," kicker David Akers said. "I missed two kicks (for Philadelphia) in a playoff game, and it's tough. We're all competitors, and we all give it everything we have. Kyle's made a lot of big plays for us. He's just trying to make plays out there. Weather conditions were horrible I know he'll never give any excuses for any of that but I say this, and I say it in the truest way."
Williams said he fielded phone calls Sunday night from teammates, friends and from his father, Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. He said he did not tune in to the din from social media.
"I really didn't pay attention to Twitter. All the feedback I needed was family and friends, the guys in the locker room," Williams said.
His father, however, said he was disturbed by the ugly reaction to Williams' muffed punt returns.
"It certainly makes you question our culture of sports as it stands," Kenny Williams told ESPN Chicago.
Kenny Williams also noted that his son played with a left shoulder injury and suggested the joint may have been dislocated. Harbaugh said Williams was evaluated Monday and that the shoulder had not separated.
"But he's very sore," Harbaugh said. "He told me that today. He was soldiering through it. I wasn't aware of it during the game."
Williams said he wouldn't use the injury as an excuse.
"In football, everybody is going to be dinged up here and there," he said.
"If what (my dad) said was that it was the cause for any of the mistakes that were made, that's not it. I take full responsibility for the mistake that I did make."