Tag: Doug Williams

15 Football Honchos Who Are Standing With Michael Sam

Michael Sam

On Sunday, Michael Sam made headlines around the country when he came out as gay. If drafted, as projected, he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL.  While some people reacted poorly to the news, Sam has racked up plenty of support in the football world. See who’s standing with Sam below.

Dick Cass, Baltimore Ravens president

“We’re all about winning. If he’s a good football player who can help us win games, he will be welcomed here,” he said. “I’m disappointed it is such a big issue in 2014.”

John Elway, Denver Broncos executive

“I applaud Michael Sam and wish him the very best as he continues the pursuit of his NFL dream,” he told 7SPORTS. “We will evaluate Michael just like any other draft prospect — on the basis of his ability, character and NFL potential. His announcement will have no effect on how we see him as a football player.

John Mara and Steve Tisch, New York Giants co-owners

“Our sport, our game, is the ultimate meritocracy. You earn your way with your ability. As Patrick Burke and Wade Davis constantly remind all of us, regardless of who you are, what your background is and what your personal or sexual orientation is, if you can play, you can play. Michael’s announcement will not affect his position on our draft board,” said Mara.

“Michael Sam is a gifted athlete and a courageous man,” Tisch said. “I hope any NFL team would not hesitate to draft Michael if he is right for their team. Our game is the ultimate team game, and we often talk about how a team is a family. Regardless of where you are from, what your religious beliefs are, what your sexual orientation is, if you are good enough to be on the team, you are part of the family.

Robert Kraft, Patriots owner

“We’re about winning,” Kraft told the Boston Herald. “And anyone who can come in here and help us win, I personally don’t care what their ethnic background is, their racial background, the gender preference. If they can help us win, and they’re about team first, then I’m happy to have him here… I think it’s good for America.

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Doug Williams Back with Redskins as Executive

Doug Williams
Doug Williams played three seasons for the Redskins, becoming the first African-American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl and earning MVP honors for his performance in Washington’s Super Bowl XXII victory. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

The timing wasn’t right in 2010 when Doug Williams started talking to the Washington Redskins about a front-office position. But it was right in 2014. And, after talking for a few weeks, the Redskins and Williams finally agreed on a deal.

The Redskins hired Williams to become a personnel executive under general manager Bruce Allen, bringing back a piece of the franchise’s storied past. Williams quarterbacked the Redskins to a Super Bowl win after the 1987 season. He became the first African-American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl and earned MVP honors after passing for 340 yards and four touchdowns in the Redskins’ 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

“It’s great to be home again,” Williams said in a news release. “I have only one mission: to help this team obtain the talent it needs so the fans can experience the Super Bowl they deserve.”  In 2010, Williams opted to become a general manager in the United Football League instead of joining the Redskins’ front office.

Williams spent five years as a personnel executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2004-08 — the same length of time that Allen spent as the Bucs’ general manager. Also, current Redskins coach Jay Gruden was an assistant coach with the Buccaneers during that period.

Williams stuck around after those two left, serving as the Bucs’ director of pro personnel in 2009. He was Grambling’s head coach from 1998-2003 and again from 2011-13 before being fired in September.  Williams has 17 seasons of NFL experience — nine as a player and eight in personnel roles. He played with Washington from 1986-89, was named a member of the 80 Greatest Redskins and is a Redskins Ring of Famer.

article by John Keim via espn.go.com

Russell Wilson Proves Doubters Wrong, Becomes 2nd African-American Quarterback to Win Super Bowl

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Russell Wilson hoists the Lombardi Trophy in just his second season as an NFL quarterback. (ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

He didn’t dominate, and he didn’t dazzle. He just won. Again.  And this time, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did it on the biggest stage possible, in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, leading his underdog Seattle Seahawks to a 43-8 demolition of Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

In a game where he was supposed to be the “other” quarterback, the second-year pro did exactly what he had to do to win the Lombardi Trophy. Very quietly, he passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl since Doug Williams led the Washington Redskins to victory in Supe XXII.

“It’s something I think about, to be the second African-American to win the Super Bowl,” Wilson said. “That’s history right there, man. It’s something special and it’s real.  There are so many guys before (me) who have tried to change the game and have done a great job of it.”

While Manning bumbled his way to two interceptions and meaningless Super Bowl passing records, Wilson never tried to do too much. He just calmly completed seven of his first 10 passes on the first two drives — including a 37-yarder to Doug Baldwin — to set up a pair of early field goals and set the tone in the runaway win. He was efficient the entire evening, completing 18 of 25 passes.

Not bad for a quarterback who said he routinely faced doubts because he stands just 5-11.  “I think the biggest thing is playing great situational football,” Wilson said. “We want to be smart. I just try to do my part. When we need a big play, I always try to make it, and keep the guys going.” Continue reading “Russell Wilson Proves Doubters Wrong, Becomes 2nd African-American Quarterback to Win Super Bowl”

Charlie Strong and James Franklin are “Historic” Black Coach Hires at Texas, Penn State

Charlie Strong holds up the "Hook'em Horns" hand signal during an NCAA college football news conference where he was introduced as the new Texas football coach, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Strong acknowledged the historical significance of being the school's first African-American head coach of a men's sport. He takes over for Mack Brown, who stepped down last month after 16 seasons. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Charlie Strong holds up the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal during an NCAA college football news conference where he was introduced as the new Texas football coach, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Strong acknowledged the historical significance of being the school’s first African-American head coach of a men’s sport. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

At the University of Texas, football is religion. At Penn State University, they need football for redemption. So when these storied programs hired black head coaches within days of each other to return them to past glory, it was a major moment for a sport that has been among the slowest to promote African-American leaders at the highest level.

There have been other black head coaches at top football schools — Notre Dame, Stanford, Miami, UCLA. But the recent hiring of Charlie Strong at Texas and James Franklin at Penn State sent a powerful message, because of the combined prestige, mystique and influence of those teams.  “It’s a historical moment,” said Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl and a former head coach at Grambling.  “We’ve come a long way in a couple weeks,” Williams said. “Even though we don’t have as many as you would like, but when you get a Penn State and a Texas, them schools together almost make up for about 10 schools.”

There are 125 colleges playing in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision. In 2013, 13 of them had black coaches. That was down from 15 in 2012 and an all-time high of 17 in 2011. Strong and Franklin have not been replaced by African-Americans, so the overall numbers remain low.  For Franklin, the numbers are less important than the opportunities.  “I don’t underestimate the significance of this moment. I take a lot of pride in that,” he said in an interview. “But the most important thing is we’re getting to a point where universities and organizations and corporations are hiring people based on merit and the most qualified guy.

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