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03 December 2015

Doug Williams Conference Call with Tampa Bay Media

(On if he ever thought this honor would arrive)
"Well, you know, the first time I left the [current] owners had nothing to do with it. I'm not so sure the second time I left they had anything to do with it, but that's water under the bridge. 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 came. You don't know when it's coming. I think when it does come you've just got to be appreciative of it."
 
(On other players from his era who might deserve the same honor)
"Let me tell you, I think there's a few of them, from Mark Cotney to Cedric Brown to Ricky Bell, Steve Wilson who was a pillar in the middle of that offensive line. I just think there's a lot of guys – [Richard] 'Batman' Wood. I always say Batman was Derrick Brooks before Derrick Brooks was Derrick Brooks, the way he played. Those guys just didn't get the pub that the guys got today, but I still think there's some guys out there who deserves to be in there."
 
(On his emotions just days before his induction)
"I think from a standpoint of family and the people who are calling me and congratulating me, I think that's where it is more than anything. Because at the end of the day, the good thing about this whole situation is, no matter what happens to Doug Williams in the future, Doug Williams will be hanging in Raymond James."
 
(On Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and their relationship)
"The way I look at Jameis – and a lot of people can look at him any way [they want] – I look at him [as] a young guy that has proved that where he was picked was worthy. I think what he has done on the field, what he has done in college on the field and what he has done now proves it. You're talking about a guy who's ate up with football. He's a junkie. We know he's smart, we know he enjoys it, and I can see why people I talk with say every team he has been on his teammates would follow him to the end of the world. I think he brings that same kind of situation to the Buccaneers at this time. I would like to think what Jameis has brung to the Buccaneers now, I would like to think that I did the same thing when I was there."
 
(On who is coming to his ceremony)
"My wife, and I'll have six of my kids there. I will have a couple of my brothers there and sisters there, a lot of cousins and a host of classmates from Grambling. They're actually charting a bus from Zachary, Louisiana. It's going to be a big day. It's going to be a big day for my family and the friends and the fans who supported me."
 
(On if he understood the opportunities he was creating when he was one of the NFL's first black quarterbacks)
"You know what? Having gone to Grambling under Coach [Eddie] Robinson and James Harris who had came before me, I knew about the Eldridge Dickeys, the Marlin Briscoes and Joe Gilliam. I knew all those guys had played in the league, and I knew opportunity wasn't there for a lot of guys at that particular time that came from the schools or African-American quarterbacks or what have you. Coach Rob and James Harris, 'Shack,' who would also be there, we talked all the time and Coach Robinson never, in his life, ever mentioned anything about me being black and how tough it was going to be. All Coach ever told me was that, 'If they're doing the same thing we did here at Grambling, you can do it because you did it well there.' And James Harris was the same way. When I came in, it wasn't about trailblazing as much as trying to find where I fit in in the league. And I did, I had a chance in the National Football League and to me that was a plus from that standpoint. But whatever happened after that…I'm sure that I'm grateful for it and hopefully the guys that have come – the Warren Moons that went to Canada at the same time and all the guys that come behind me – look at it from the same perspective that I did it. It's not about whether or not you blazed a trail, it's about the opportunity that you get."
 
(On playing in the South in Tampa and how difficult that was)
"Well, let me say this: I was raised in the South. It wasn't a learning curve for me. I understood it. I tell people all the time, when I was 10, 11 years old I saw a cross burning every Friday night. So it wasn't nothing for me. I understood what I was up against, I understood what I had to deal with. But at the end of the day it wasn't about that part of life for me as much as the opportunity that I was given from the Buccaneers, Coach [John] McKay and Ken Herock, Coach [Joe] Gibbs. Those guys are the ones who paved the way and made that opportunity come true."
 
(On whether he identifies himself more as a Buccaneer or a Redskin)
"Well I think we've got to look at it realistically. I started in Tampa, but from that standpoint you want the organization to put their arms around you. And I didn't know after those five years was up, that Tampa Bay put their arms around me. The franchise – I'm not talking about the people who cheered for Doug Williams, who were pulling for Doug Williams. I'm talking about the administrative side of it. And coming [to Washington], I was treated a whole lot differently and looked at from a different perspective. I think the difference was you had an organization that had been in existence for a long time. I walked in and walked into Bobby Mitchell's office, who was the assistant general manager at that time. A lot of times, people don't understand how important it is to be able to have people in place, and I'm talking about the standpoint of having African-Americans in high places when you have a bunch of guys on the team that they can identify with. That's big. When I walked in here and was able to sit in Bobby's office and talk about my career and what I'm up against and find out what it's all about, it was just a different perspective."
 
(On his relationship with former Buccaneers Head Coach John McKay)
"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. And he always called me, 'Dougie.' He was a totally different guy on the field than he was if you walked into his office. I remember I used to go into his office and he would say, 'Sit down, Dougie. Let's talk.' And we talked. I knew Coach admired me, I knew Coach liked me. I think it was, from a competitive standpoint, he knew whatever I had I was going to give it to him. I can remember walking into a meeting one day and Coach clearly said to the whole team – and at the time we had a good defense, we had a good defense – and Coach clearly said, 'If we can keep it close, Dougie will find a way to win it.' That was a hell of a compliment for a coach to pay. After everything was over, after I left and I came back, Coach McKay and I, we did an autograph signing together over in St. Pete. And after that we decided to go to lunch, just me and him, and sat in the corner. And he told me flat out, he said, 'Dougie, when I lost you, I lost the whole thing.' To me, that was very emotional to be sitting back there talking to Coach and for him to say that. I got a letter from Corky McKay…never will forget it, I've been looking for that letter, we're talking 30-something years ago almost, and I can't find it. I took it to my house in Zachary and I can't find this letter. But she wrote me a letter and she told me that John, that she could remember, only loved one player and that was O.J. [Simpson], she said. But at the end of that letter she had put on there, 'But he loves you more.'"
 
(On going into the Ring of Honor after going through some troubles with the original Bucs ownership)
"Again, I didn't go through it with the Glazers. Now, don't get me wrong, I can honestly say, when Jon Gruden called and asked me did I want to come back and be a part of the organization along with Bruce [Allen] and all, I couldn't wait to be a part of the Buccaneers because I felt like there was something missing for me with Tampa, because that's where I started. I always thought, when I first came to Tampa in 1978 I thought I'd be in Tampa for a lifetime. But to come back there and have an opportunity to work…I never thought I was going to leave Tampa again. But things happen, people make decisions. I honestly think that if it wasn't for certain situations I would still be there, but it didn't happen and you've got to go on with life. I've got three daughters that were born in Tampa. My two youngest ones, who are seven and nine, that's all they talk about, that Tampa's their home. My nine-year-old asked me, 'Can we go back and live in Tampa?' Stuff like that is emotional because Tampa was a great place to live and raise a family. But the Glazers and I, we never had a beef. I never talked straight with them and [had them] tell me they didn't want anything to do with me. I think what they did, they let the people who were in position make the decisions and those are the decisions that we live with."
 
(On if he would finally answer if he did or did not put a curse on the franchise when he left)
"Let me say this: I think I answered that before. If I was going to curse the team, the games that they won they wouldn't have. So that's why I would say no. Unless somebody did it on my behalf because I had nothing to do with it."
 
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