Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Doug Williams set for Bucs' Ring of Honor

TAMPA — Come halftime Sunday, Doug Williams will proudly take his place in the Bucs' Ring of Honor, a moment he wasn't always sure would come.

"At the end of the day, you talk about honoring players that have been in the organization. I thought one day that it might've come," said Williams, 60, who took a franchise that lost its first 26 games and led it to the 1979 NFC Championship Game. "You don't know when it's coming. I think when it does come, you've just got to be appreciative of it."

Williams, a first-round draft pick (17th overall) in 1978 out of Grambling, played five years with the Bucs, reaching the playoffs in three of his last four. But a bitter contract squabble led him to the newly formed USFL, then to the Redskins, where he became the first African-American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl in the 1987 season.

Williams has a place in the Redskins' Ring of Fame, but being enshrined in Tampa, where his pro career began, is special for him.

"The good thing about this whole situation," he said Thursday, "is no matter what happens to Doug Williams in the future, Doug Williams will be hanging in Raymond James."

Williams is the eighth member of the Ring of Honor and the second to be inducted this season. Fullback Mike Alstott had his induction in October. Williams joins his former coach, the late John McKay, and tight end Jimmie Giles, a frequent target of his.

"The one thing about Coach McKay — and everybody told me this — was that if he put an 'ie' at the end of your name, you were one of his favorites," Williams said. "And he always called me 'Dougie.' "

Williams had a contentious relationship with previous Bucs owners but said he has "never had a beef" with the Glazer family, even when he was let go from a front-office role after six years in 2010. He returned to the Redskins last year and works as a personnel executive under former Bucs and now Washington general manager Bruce Allen.

The impact of the Bucs' first franchise quarterback still resonates with its current quarterback, rookie Jameis Winston. He looks to Williams as a mentor as he seeks to bring the Bucs back to the postseason.

"We have a tight bond," said Winston, who met Williams at a college football awards show in 2012. "Ever since then, he's been constantly staying on me, telling me to stay the course. … It's an honor that we're honoring him and his accomplishments with Tampa Bay."

Bucs coach Lovie Smith, three years younger than Williams, said Williams was an inspiration to young African-Americans who saw him succeed.

"Just a great ambassador for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for all of us that know Doug Williams and know what he represents," Smith said. "It's a special time, and Doug is definitely one that should get that type of recognition."

For years, Bucs fans lamented a supposed "Curse of Doug Williams," which kept the team without a winning season for 14 years after he left for the now-defunct USFL. As he prepares to join the team's most honored fraternity, Williams said there was no such curse — at least by his doing.

"Let me say this: If I was going to curse the team, the games that they won, they wouldn't have," Williams said. "That's why I would say 'No.' Unless somebody did it on my behalf, because I had nothing to do with it."

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Doug Williams set for Bucs' Ring of Honor 12/03/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.