Grambling football great Doug Williams will no longer be watching any film or evaluating players in his new role with the NFL’s Washington Football Team.
In fact, one of the things he’ll be doing is helping to decide what the team will be called going forward. It’s one piece of his new role as senior advisor to WFT team president Jason Wright.
Williams spent the past six seasons with Washington working with personnel. He was a senior vice president of player personnel, and after Ron Rivera was hired as head coach last summer, he shifted to senior VP of player development.
Late last week, Washington announced Williams is moving to the business side of the franchise, where he will influence decisions such as the team’s new name and the push for a new stadium. The Football Team dropped its Redskins mascot last summer, one in a series of moves to return some respectability to a franchise beset by front office controversy and on-field struggles.
One thing won’t change: though unofficially before the move, Williams will also help with relations with former players, many who naturally gravitated toward him in past years.
He will advise Wright, hired last summer as team president. Soon after Wright arrived, he began talking with Williams about future plans. Now, 65-year-old Williams will help map those plans.
“At my stage (of life), when you look at a lot of other guys, they don’t get a chance to stay in the organization that gave them an opportunity to accomplish stuff,” he told ESPN reporter John Keim. “And to still be able to help that organization, that’s the lucky part for me.
“Because I’ve been around, I can help them navigate certain areas they need to go … . To get a chance to work along those lines and be part of it going forward, it’s almost like being on the ground floor.”
Passing for 340 yards and four touchdowns, Williams led Washington to a 43-17 blowout of Denver and won Super Bowl XXII MVP honors. He was the first black quarterback to play in a Super Bowl.
In his playing days at Grambling, he led the Tigers to a 36-7 record and three SWAC championships in four seasons as the starter for coach Eddie Robinson. In 1977, his senior year, he led the NCAA in passing yards (3,284) and touchdown passes (38) as he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting won by Earl Campbell of Texas.
He was the 17th pick in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft, becoming the first black QB chosen in the opening round. After five seasons with Tampa Bay, he played four more in Washington and recorded 100 NFL passing touchdowns.
Williams became head coach at Grambling in 1998, succeeding his coach, and led the Tigers to SWAC championships three straight seasons from 2000-02.