The Bucs are moving forward with a reshaping of their front office and scouting department, and the first shoe to drop was a big one.
Director of pro scouting Doug Williams, a Tampa Bay icon and NFL trailblazer who became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl, left the organization for a second time Tuesday after serving six years in the personnel department.
The club issued a news release that said the decision was mutual, with Williams and general manager Mark Dominik saying in it that the move came after a series of discussions between them. Williams, 54, made the move without knowing his next stop.
"Mark and I have sat down and talked about my future," Williams said in the statement. "After a lot of thought, I felt that it was the right time for me to look at new options. I wish nothing but the best for the Buccaneers."
Dominik added: "I have tremendous respect for Doug's talents and am very appreciative of his many contributions to this franchise over the years. At the end of last season, Doug and I began a conversation regarding his career. Doug concluded that now is the time for him to make the smoothest transition. Like Mike Alstott and Lee Roy Selmon, Doug will stay involved as a representative of the team in the community."
Williams was not available for comment Tuesday.
There were indications that Dominik will make other staff changes. All members of the scouting and personnel departments will be examined. Among those remaining in prominent roles are college scouting director Dennis Hickey and pro scout Shelton Quarles. Last week, college personnel assistant Richard Mann II joined the Redskins under Bruce Allen, their GM.
Dominik said he expects that Williams will be replaced by a new hire who will serve in a similar capacity, though that person's title is unclear.
The news marks another inglorious exit from the Bucs for Williams, who was the team's first-round pick in 1978 and its starting quarterback until 1982. That's when he left for the USFL after an contract dispute with Tampa Bay. He left a legacy after leading the Bucs to the playoffs for the first time, including reaching the 1979 NFC Championship Game.
After the USFL dissolved, Williams' NFL rights were traded to the Redskins. In Super Bowl XXII after the 1987 season, he led Washington to a victory over the Broncos and earned the game's MVP award.
After returning to Tampa to work under then-Bucs general manager Allen in 2004, Williams hoped he was on a path that would lead to a GM post. But he often met resistance when seeking an expanded role in the front office, causing frequent frustration. That continued under Dominik, after Allen was fired in January 2009. Williams' role was mainly evaluating free agents and other possible acquisitions, but he did not appear to be involved in decision making.
This element was part of the reason Williams and Dominik had a series of conversations after last season, as Williams sought more responsibility while Dominik remained reluctant to grant it. They agreed to revisit the conversation after the draft, which led to this decision.
Williams has had a larger-than-life presence at One Buc Place, where he is universally respected by players, many of whom he has mentored.
It's unclear what Williams will do next. He has extensive coaching experience, most notably at his alma mater, Grambling. There, he succeeded the legendary Eddie Robinson and led the Division I-AA Tigers to three straight Southwest Athletic Conference titles with a 52-18 record.
Williams interviewed with South Florida after Jim Leavitt was fired following the 2009 season. Williams also interviewed this year with Southern University, a rival of Grambling.
In the past, Williams has expressed a preference to work in a front office.
TRUEBLOOD Re-SIGNS: Offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood signed his one-year tender offer for $1.759 million to remain with the Bucs. He was a restricted free agent.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.