Reggie Williams (linebacker)

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Reggie Williams
No. 57
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-09-19) September 19, 1954 (age 61)
Place of birth: Flint, Michigan
Career information
College: Dartmouth
NFL draft: 1976 / Round: 3 / Pick: 82
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Sacks: 62.5
Interceptions: 16
Touchdowns: 3
Player stats at NFL.com

Reginald Williams (born September 19, 1954) is a former professional American football player. He is a member of both the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame, the Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame and[1] the College Football Hall of Fame.[2] Williams served three years on the Cincinnati City Council.[2]

Early life[edit]

Reginald Williams was born on September 19, 1954 in Flint, Michigan.[3] The son of Elijah and Julia Williams, as a child he overcame a hearing disability. Reggie Williams was a star athlete and student at Flint Southwestern High School in Flint, Michigan. He excelled at football and was also a wrestler. He played linebacker as a junior and switched to fullback his senior year.

The recipient of an academic scholarship, Williams was a three-time All-Ivy League linebacker in football and an Ivy League heavyweight wrestling champion (1975)[citation needed] at Dartmouth College, graduating[2] in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He also took courses there in tai chi and ballet.[4]

NFL career[edit]

In 1976 he was drafted in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom he played 14 seasons,[2] (including two Super Bowls,[4] XVI (1981) and XXIII (1988)).

Williams recorded 16 interceptions and 23 fumble recoveries (a franchise record). During his career Williams amassed 62.5 sacks, which is the second most in Bengals history.[5] In his final two seasons with the Bengals, Williams was appointed to an open seat on the Cincinnati City Council in 1988 and was elected for a second term in 1989 on the Charter Party ticket.

Williams has received numerous honors, including selection to the NFL All-Rookie Team (1976), the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for Humanitarian Service (1985), the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (1986), and Sports Illustrated's Co-Sportsman of the Year (1987).

Post-NFL life[edit]

After retiring from the NFL, Williams joined the World League of American Football as the Vice President/General Manager of the New Jersey Knights.[3] He later rejoined the NFL, where he conceived and opened the NFL's first Youth Education Town (YET) in Los Angeles.

Williams was hired as director of sports development for Disney on April 19, 1993.[4] In the mid-1990s, Williams oversaw the creation of Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art 220-acre (0.89 km2) multi-sport facility that opened on March 28, 1997 and hosts more than 180 athletic events annually in some 30 sports.[2][6] By 1998, he was named Vice President of Disney Sports Attractions, overseeing a newly created sports & recreation division[4] that merged Walt Disney World Resort Recreation, Water Parks and Disney Sports Attractions, which included Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, the Walt Disney World Speedway, and Walt Disney World Golf.[citation needed] Williams retired from Disney in November 2007, stepping down to focus on rehabilitating his legs from his playing career in the NFL.[2]

Although he started in the NFL for 14 seasons, Williams played most of his career on a bad right knee. He has had 24 knee surgeries since his career ended, most of those coming after April 2008. He had the first surgery in 1979, plus knee replacements as well as multiple infections. In 2008, when he was diagnosed with the bone infection osteomyelitis, he had eight surgeries in five months. His right leg is now right leg 2 5/8 inches shorter than the other and he is struggling to avoid amputation of his right leg.[7]

In December 2007 Williams was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.[2] He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Dartmouth College in 1990 and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[8]

He currently lives in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maghielse, Ross (September 4, 2013). "Flint native Reggie Williams struggling with injuries, aftermath of NFL career". Flint Journal. Mlive Media Group. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Robbins, Josh (November 14, 2007). "Reggie Williams to step down as Disney vice president of sports attractions". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "THE DAILY Goes One-on-One With Reggie Williams". Sports Business Daily (125). March 21, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Solano, Javier (March 27, 1998). "Directing Sports Of Disney". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  5. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80be20fa&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true
  6. ^ Dame, Mike (2002-09-18). "Sports Complex overview". Daily Press. Tribune Publishing. Go2Orlando. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  7. ^ http://news.cincinnati.com/interactive/article/20130825/COL03/130822035/Ex-Cincinnati-Bengal-fighting-save-leg?nclick_check=1
  8. ^ Dartmouth Sports
  9. ^ http://www.fpl.info/hallfame/04/rwilliams.shtml