Reggie Williams (linebacker)
|Date of birth:||September 19, 1954|
|Place of birth:||Flint, Michigan|
|NFL draft:||1976 / Round: 3 / Pick: 82|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Reginald Williams (born September 19, 1954) is a former professional American football player.
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.
He is a member of both the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame.
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) at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
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. 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).
After retiring from the NFL, Williams joined the World League of American Football as the Vice President/General Manager of the New Jersey Knights. He later rejoined the NFL, where he conceived and opened the NFL's first Youth Education Town (YET) in Los Angeles.
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. In 1998, he was named Vice President of Disney Sports Attractions, overseeing a newly created Sports & Recreation division 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.
Williams retired from Disney in November 2007, stepping down to focus on rehabilitating his legs from his playing career in the NFL.
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.
- Orlando Sentinel
- Dartmouth Sports