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Doug Williams, Redskins Super Bowl XXII MVP, the consummate professional, stood at the Raymond James Stadium podium Wednesday afternoon and asked all of his former Buccaneers teammates in the audience to stand up and be acknowledged.
“Thanks to you guys for allowing me an opportunity to play,” Williams said. “Back in 1978 was a tough time for a young guy, an African-American quarterback to come to Tampa to play in this stadium.”
Williams, along with former fullback Mike Alstott, delivered a press conference after being announced he would be inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor on December 6.
Humbled and open about a transformative time in his life, Williams rattled off many names of former players and coaches, thanking them for their friendship.
“This is certainly a great day,” Williams said. “When I see so many people here, the players here that made it comfortable here for me… If there was any growing up that had to be done, I did it in Tampa.”
Williams helped turn around the Buccaneers after he was drafted, leading them to three straight playoff appearances, including a 1979 bid in the NFC Championship game. He later worked for the organization for several years in the mid-2000s.
"Somebody called me last night and asked how many times do you get the opportunity to be in two stadiums? I don’t know,” said Williams, who is also in the Redskins Ring of Fame. “I tried my best and nobody can tell you that when it was time to strap it up, that Doug Williams didn’t give you what he had.”
Later, fielding questions from reporters, Williams also mentioned his relationship with this year’s first overall draft pick, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.
Since winning the Heisman trophy two years ago, Winston has been in frequent contact with Williams, developing their relationship at social banquets and over the phone, which Williams admitted can be tricky sometimes.
“I’m not a big texter but he’s at that texting age,” Williams said. “I try to call him but he never answers so he forces me to text. We’ve been close. Even through the process that he’s been through. I remember one text, he asked how I handled certain things so I called and talked to him one day. I believe in him as an individual, as a young man. Last night I came to town and the first guy calling me was Jameis Winston.”