“The Ring of Honor is a very exclusive group. It consists of individuals who have had a lasting impact with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at some point in our history. The last few years I’ve stood up here and introduced one new member to the Ring (each year). But this year, we’re going to do things a little differently. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan on bringing in two new members into our Ring of Honor this year, on separate occasions. So please help me welcome your class of 2015: Mr. Doug Williams and Mr. Mike Alstott.
“While they played in different eras, Doug Williams and Mike Alstott defined what it meant to be a Buccaneer. They were winners on the field and they left their mark on this franchise – and this community – long after their playing days were over.
“Doug arrived in Tampa in 1978, under difficult circumstances. The team was entering its third season. It was a struggling expansion franchise. It had won only two games in its first two years. Future Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon led a growing defense that was getting better in each of its first two years. But the offense lacked an identity, lacked a spark and was in desperate need of a leader. That all changed with the 1978 Draft. With the 17th overall selection, from Grambling, we selected Doug Williams and things changed. Doug came in with a rocket arm, leadership ability and confidence rarely seen in rookies.
“In that season, he started 10 games and came out with four victories. But more importantly, he set the foundation for one of the most impressive turnarounds in franchise history. The next year, in 1979, led by a strong defense and the second-year budding star quarterback, we literally went from ‘Worst to First.’ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their first winning season of 10-6, won the NFC Central Division title, and Doug led us all the way to the NFC Championship Game.
“Starting with that year, he went on to start every single game, and made three playoff appearances in those four years. After his time with the Buccaneers, Doug went on for a couple of seasons in the USFL (United States Football League) and then went on to play for the Washington Redskins. He went to lead his team to Super Bowl XXII and not only led his team to victory, but he was the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player in one of the most impressive performances quarterback games for the Super Bowl. It was a storybook ending for a great career.
“However, Doug Williams’ time with the Buccaneers ended much too soon and all Buccaneer fans have lived with this pain ever since. During his time in Tampa, Doug – along with fellow Ring of Honor inductees John McKay, Jimmie Giles and Lee Roy Selmon – these men literally put Tampa Bay on the sports map and ushered in our first successful era for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Nearly 20 years later, it was time for another great era. We selected a young man out of Purdue University in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was drafted a year after Ring of Honor inductees Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. They played a major role in the most successful period of this franchise’s history.
“Mike came into the league with a reputation of being a big, hard-nosed runner with the size of a fullback, the soft hands of a tight end and the speed of a tailback. There wasn’t much he couldn’t do on the football field.
“He ranks as our all-time team leader in touchdowns, with 71, rushing touchdowns, with 58, second in franchise history in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage and fourth in total receptions. He did it all and he was a key to our unprecedented success in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, leading to a Super Bowl victory.
“Over time, his unique set of skills set him apart from most other players in the NFL in this position. He established himself as a perennial Pro Bowler. He earned six Pro Bowl selections and four AP All-Pro honors in his 11-year career.
“Mike was always the best at his position in the postseason. He ranks as our franchise leader in (postseason) rushing touchdowns and rushing yards, third in playoff receptions and fourth in receiving yards.
“Mike and his wife, Nicole, call the Tampa Bay area their home. They continue to make a difference in in the Bay Area through the Mike Alstott (Family) Foundation. They are a shining example of what a lasting impact our players can make in our community.
“Doug Williams and Mike Alstott will be inducted into the Ring of Honor separately this year. First Mike on October 4th against the Carolina Panthers and then Doug on December 6th against the Atlanta Falcons.
“Gentlemen, on behalf of all Buccaneer fans, I’d like to thank you for your contributions to our franchise’s history. We are proud of your accomplishments and we’re excited to welcome you into the Ring of Honor this fall.”
FORMER QUARTERBACK DOUG WILLIAMS
“I want to thank the Glazer family for allowing me this opportunity to stand here. I also would like for all the guys that I had an opportunity to play with to stand today. (Applause)
“What I would like to say is thanks to you guys for allowing me an opportunity to play. Back in 1978 was a tough time for a young guy – a young African-American quarterback – to come to Tampa and play in this stadium.
“I’m looking at David Lewis. I can remember something David said to me once. I don’t know if he remembers this, but him and Isaac Hagins and I were standing there talking and we (Williams and Hagins) played in the South Western Atlantic Conference. And David walked up to me and said, ‘Man, you all guys didn’t play no football down in the SWAC.’ And I told him, ‘You might be right, but the snap don’t start unless I give them a count.’ And we went from there.
“But all I can say is this is certainly a great day when I see so many people, not only (just) the players here that made it comfortable for me. I’m looking at Buddy Foster, who is sitting here, was like a brother to me. For the four years I was here as a player and the seven years I was here working for the organization, Buddy made sure I had a car to drive. That doesn’t happen every day. So it went beyond the player; it was a friend. To this day Buddy probably calls me once a week and our families are that tight.
“I look at James Harris. Probably if it wasn’t for James Harris I don’t know whether or not I would be standing here today.
“I have a bunch of family. I have Moms out there, Mom Hawkins (Kaydette Hawkins). Where is Mom Hawkins and Charles (Hawkins)? When I first got here they took me in, when I first stepped foot on this ground. Miss Rosa Jones and (inaudible) and so on. Then as time passed, guys like Nick Reeder and Bob Basham. We became mighty close.
“I look over here at Mark Cotney, Batman (Richard Wood), is Batman (Wood) here today? Greg Roberts, who was my roommate. Jimmie Giles, who, as he says, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. So thanks Jimmie for bringing me to Tampa. (Laughter) I certainly appreciate that.
“When I look at guys like that and I look at the team after we went on, I think about Mark Cotney and I think about John Lynch. That was John Lynch before John Lynch. I think about Batman (Wood), that was Derrick Brooks before Derrick Brooks.
“Nobody as big as David Lewis could move – he’s the only guy I know that can get up on the out at 15 yards that I threw, because that’s the type of athlete (he was). And we know what Lee Roy (Selmon) meant to this football team.
“But we had so many guys that made things happen. I think if you listen to what Coach (John) McKay, who gave me an opportunity along with Kenny Herock and Coach (Joe) Gibbs had a lot to do with it. That’s my rookie year. If you listen to what Coach Gibbs said, we had that type of attitude. 1979 we used to play one record in the locker room. Batman Wood used to bring his jukebox and it was ‘There ain’t no stopping us now’. And before you know it we were 5-0 and we were on our way. That first playoff game against Kansas City, nobody gave us a prayer – not against Kansas City, against Philadelphia. But we knew we had an opportunity and we were nine points short of the Super Bowl. Then the years went by and I was no longer a part of this football team, but I just want to say if there was any growing up that had to be done, I did it here in Tampa with the guys that are standing out there.
“Greg Roberts, we were just like brothers. That was my roommate. Whatever went down, it was him and (me), and we had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun.
“The reporters, I want to apologize to you all calling me and me not getting back to you. I usually get back to you Ira (Kaufman), (Martin) Fennelly and (Rick) Stroud, but, you know what, they told me not to tell anybody (about the Ring of Honor selection) and I can keep a secret. It was tough and I couldn’t call you and say, ‘I don’t know,’ because I’m not good at lying. So I didn’t call you back. That’s why I didn’t call you back. I want you to understand that. But we have always had that type of rapport.
“I just want to say this is certainly a great day. Somebody called me last night and said, ‘How many times do you get an opportunity to be in two stadiums?’ I don’t know. But I don’t know I got the opportunity to be in two stadiums (both the Tampa Bay Ring of Honor and Washington Ring of Fame). I certainly appreciate being here because this is where it all started.
“I can remember when I was drafted, we all met down in Sarasota. The first guy I met was Lee Roy Selmon. When you talk about Lee Roy Selmon, you talk about defensive lineman. You are looking for that brutal, heavy-voiced type of guy. I was scared when I put my hand out there I knew he was going to squeeze it to death. He handed it out there and said, ‘Hi guy,’ (in a high pitch voice). It killed me. Killed me. (Laughter).
“I remember we played in a game and they were killing me out there. Lee Roy had a shot on the quarterback, I mean had the blind side and he pushed the guy down. I said ‘Lee Roy, what the hell you doing? They are killing me. Cut him in half!’ He said, ‘I didn’t want to hurt the guy.’ (Laughter). Wow. That’s what happened.
“As I stand here I think about guys like Big Meade (Darryl Carlton). I think about guys like (David) Logan. Guys that I had an opportunity – Neal Colzie – that I had an opportunity to play with that are no longer here with us. I know I might miss somebody, but I just want to say that I tried my best and nobody can tell you that when it was time to strap it up that Doug Williams didn’t give you what he had.
“I can remember my rookie year, my last football game against the New Orleans Saints. I had had my jaw broken. I played the last game and I was about 20 pounds under. At that time I was already slim. I came here at 215 (pounds) and I played the last game at 195 (pounds). But I played the game.
“We talk about the press conference starting on time, (and) I just want to make another note. The guy that just walked through the door, who probably meant as much to me as anybody, a guy by the name of Cecil Johnson. He’s the only guy I knew at the time that could tell the general manager whatever he wanted to and nothing took place, Jason. (Points at current Tampa Bay General Manager Jason Licht). You couldn’t do that today, I understand that. (Laughter) But I can promise you Cecil Johnson did what he wanted to do. Cecil, it’s good to see you, man. And he was another guy I played with.
“But I just want to say thanks to all the guys that I had an opportunity to play with because if it wasn’t for you, I would not have had the success I had on the football field. And I want to say thanks to the Glazers for allowing me this opportunity. Coach (Lovie Smith), good luck, (and) Jason.
FORMER FULLBACK MIKE ALSTOTT
“It’s an amazing day. Doug talked about it, you know, the players he played with the people he was involved with, and, same situation for me. It’s a ‘wow’ moment for me right now. I want to thank my good friends the Buccaneers video guys. Always have to give them a little tip of my hat up to them for the amazing (highlight) video – always making me look good.
“First of all I’d like to say how honored (I am) and mention – to be in the same class as a Lee Roy Selmon, as a John McKay, Jimmie Giles, players that I played with (like) Paul Gruber, early in my career was a great mentor to me, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, obviously great friends and Hall of Famers, and now Hall of Famer and legend Doug Williams. To put my name in that category is humbling, it really is. It’s emotional. You dream about it.
“Even though I’ll be recognized as an individual, it wouldn’t have been possible without so many people along the way, starting at the top. The Glazer family, thank you. To be in a great organization for so many years and to be here for 12 years – a couple on IR (Injured Reserve), but I’m still counting them (laughter) – not a lot of people can say that. To keep my family here – thank you for allowing me to live my dream.
“From all the front office people throughout the time being here. Jill Hobbs has been here for, what, 38 years, Jill? My first phone call when they drafted me (was from Hobbs). Amazing.
“All the people who (I) established relationships (with) over the years. Coach (Tony) Dungy drafted me. The mentorship, how he taught us how to be professional, all of us, all young Bucs in that locker room. It’s amazing how he transformed some of those guys and made us true professionals.
“Then Coach (Jon) Gruden, who came in here and really put a stamp on it and allowed us to get our ring and win a Super Bowl.
“And all the other coaches who put us in a position to succeed. I had great relationships with my positions coaches. I see Art in the stands right now, Art Valero. Tony Nathan. A lot of other coaches that were my special teams coaches and even defensive coaches that I have great relationships with right now and and still keep in contact with. I want to say thank you for helping me become who I am and just the team in general, in building those relationships over the years.
“A huge part of why I’m standing here today is all my teammates. It wouldn’t be fair if I went through – because there are so many through the 12 years – sitting here and individualized and called the names, but, throughout the years, they were (all) a huge part of that daily grind. Walking into this building and knowing that we were going to accomplish something together and to create the most everlasting memories and friendships, it’s just unbelievable. They’re still going on, they’ll always go on, we have that bond. I thank you.
“(Of) all the coaches that coached and us players that played, there was my No. 1 team waiting at home for me every day. My wife, Nicole, our three children. 16 years old, the kid, huh? Wow. My son, Griffin, is 16, our daughter Hannah is 13 and Lexie Jo is 11. Time flies. We experienced that journey together. Each and every one of us, each one of you, should be (as) proud of this accomplishment as I am, because it is our accomplishment. We did it together. I love you all.
“A lot has happened to get to this point. I’m often asked about my favorite part about playing: a memorable touchdown, a favorite run or a most memorable game. The answer is always the same: it’s all about my teammates, the locker room, the process it took and how we became successful. That every-day grind and what we did each and every day with each other, behind the scenes, that nobody knows about, that we live for today. And I live for it right now. Those are the memories I’m cherishing and that’s what I teach my kids – I’m a head coach right now and I teach my kids each and every day. I learn from you guys, you learn from me, we learn together. I’m teaching that to the younger generation right now.
“Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the fans. The best in the NFL. Your love and support through the good times, through the injuries and the bad times, will never be forgotten. I even think the chants on Sunday even got me a few more carries throughout my career. Your continued support for my family and (me) through the Mike Alstott Family Foundation – I want to thank the fans for everything they’ve done for me. They have been a huge part of my career here in Tampa and huge supporters and have stood by my family and (me) for many many years.
“Thank you to all the media here today, who covered me throughout my career. Thank you for everything each of you have done. You’ve really respected the space that I’ve asked throughout my career and made my career enjoyable.
“So, once again, I want to thank everybody for what you’ve done for my career, my family, and everybody to make this amazing honor.”
Q&A WITH THE MEDIA
(On what went through their minds when seeing highlights of their careers)
Doug Williams: “No doubt about it, when you get an opportunity to look at yourself and see some of the things that you did back then, you just wish you could do it again because the pay is a little different (laughs). No, you just look at it and have to pat yourself on the back a little bit, but not too long. Realize it was part of the game and you have people on the field with you that helped you get it done.”
Mike Alstott: “It’s humbling. It really is. I enjoy it because my kids get to see and refresh their memory on who daddy was and daddy’s life and stuff like that. At the same time, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t care what people say; any circumstance in the world I wouldn’t change my occupation and I just lived it. It was a dream each and every day when I went to that office to be with my teammates and be able to inspire and make plays on the field. I don’t know how I did it, but I did it.”
(On Williams’ history with the Buccaneers and if he thought this day would ever come)
DW: “Let me tell you something a lot of people might now know. When Sam Wyche was the head coach here, he called me and asked me if I would want to come back and coach. I told him yes. He said, ‘Okay,I’ll get back to you. He said he would get back to me. Then when he called me back, at that time the administration said no, shut it down. When Tony Dungy got the job, Tony and I met in Indianapolis. I was working for Jacksonville at the time. I met with Tony and I met with Mike Shula. Mike Shula said at that time he didn’t have hardly (any) coaches and he told me that – I think Lovie (Smith) was on that staff – he said, ‘I want you to be the quality control (coach).’ I was 32, 34-years-old. Quality control wasn’t for an old guy. He said ‘I want to coach my quarterback’. I said no problem, but he had wide receiver, running back, all that. I told Tony I wasn’t going to do the quality control. That was that. When Jon Gruden came back, he brought me in the summer before they won the Super Bowl. I think I’m still owed a ring because I talked to the team, that’s why they won (laughs). But anyway, I came to talk to the team during minicamp and the next year he said, ‘Hey, we are going to get you in this organization.’ I was still having fun at Grambling. In 2004 I came and worked here, I worked for the last four years. I can’t say why I’m not still here, but I’m not here and we will leave it at that and go forward. No matter when it comes, it’s good that it came and I feel good about it.”
(On the direction his life has gone as a football coach)
MA: “Right at the end of my career, I think Griffin was going into sixth grade. He played baseball and I love baseball just as much as football and played throughout high school and stuff like that. We were having a good time. I was able to coach him, it was the offseason. It was a good time for me and him. He sits down at the table and he is with his buddy from two houses down and he goes, ‘I want to play football’. I go, ‘I don’t think you know what you are getting yourself into.’ Baseball, they take batting practice for an hour and then they play games every other time and you know, practice. Football you practice, practice, practice, practice and play. I tried to tell him that. I said I’m not coaching. I brought my lawn chair out and sat there for two days. He didn’t like that. After a couple days he asked me to coach and I said I’m not coaching. ‘I want to sit back and I want to see this.’ The coach from the team asked me to coach and I said, ‘No, I’m not coaching. I want him to do this on his own.’ Then I couldn’t take it after like the fourth day because the coaches were horrible, so I got in. That was Pee-Wee football and then I helped out with St. Pete Catholic. My wife called me one day - I’m on a science field trip to Key West, on the way back home – and she’s like, ‘North Side Christian wants to interview you’. I’m like ‘No, I don’t want to be a head coach. I don’t want to deal with it. I just want to be a position coach.’ She said, ‘Just go.’ I went and I loved what I heard and I’m blessed. 0-10 my first year, that’s why I bald spots on my head, and now we went 8-2 last year and I have kids going to college. I’ve got a commitment to Notre Dame. I’ve got other kids going to other colleges. It really has been a blessing. Doug and I were talking in the back about what we can do as football junkies and lovers and mentors, like I was (mentored). People had a lasting impression in my life and helped me get to where I’m at now. That’s why I’m sitting here, and I’m just trying to help kids do the same thing and live their dream.”
(On his relationship with Jameis Winston)
DW: “Jameis and our relationship didn’t start this year. The year after he won the Heisman, I got a chance to do probably about four banquets with him and spent a lot of time with him. Him and I, we have been communicating, texting. I’m not a big texter, but he is at that texting age. So, I try to call him and he never answers the phone, so he forced me to text. I would text him back. We have been close, even through the whole process that he has been through. I can remember one text he sent to me. He just asked me how I handled certain things, so I called him and we talked about an hour one day. I believe in him as an individual and as a young man and I think everybody makes mistakes, whatever the mistakes are. Last night I came to town. The first guy that called me was Jameis Winston. For an hour and a half he sat with me over at Lee Roy (Selmon’s). We just sat there, talked and ate wings. It says a lot about him. You are never going to find a guy - I think I made this statement in the paper to a writer – there are only two young guys that I’ve seen that handles the public and the mic, and that’s LeBron James and Jameis Winston. He has charisma coming out of his ears.”
(On if he finds it sad that the fullback position isn’t the same as when he played)
MA: “It is a little bit. Before I came, I think the league was a little bit more of running – shoot, it was at one time – and it evolves back. It seems like everything is a cycle. It disappears and then maybe comes back, but it was special for me just because I got to do both. I was able to put my hand in the dirt and lead the way, and at the same time dot the I and do some different things and aslo catch the ball out of the backfield. I had 67 catches my rookie year, which was huge from Trent (Dilfer). It was a great part of my game early in my career, until I proved to myself that I could carry the rock. Whatever was asked at the time, I would have done. I just loved being on the field. I hated being on the sidelines. I’m not a coach. I wanted to be on the field and just enjoyed being around the guys in that huddle. There were special times in that huddle.