After considering Redskins, Doug Williams embraces UFL GM role
I chatted with former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams last week about a variety of topics. Some of our conversation will appear in the newspaper later this week, so keep an eye out for that.
After leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office in the spring, Williams became the general manager of the United Football League’s expansion franchise in Norfolk. Before he took that job last month, however, he and Redskins general manager Bruce Allen discussed the possibility of Williams re-joining the organization that he led to the Super Bowl XXII championship.
Williams worked for Allen as a pro personnel executive for all of Allen’s five-year tenure with the Bucs. Last season, Williams was promoted to director of pro scouting.
Considering Williams’ history with Allen and the Redskins, a return to Ashburn seemed like a nice fit. His career ambitions, however, led him in a different direction.
“We never came to a conclusion because when we talked, I told him I had this opportunity to be a general manager,” Williams said. “He knew that that’s what I wanted to do, and he felt like that was a great opportunity for me to go and pursue that angle. When we talked and I explained everything to him, he wasn’t going to jump in my way.”
So instead of reuniting with Allen, Williams will have the opportunity to apply some of the lessons he picked up from Allen in Tampa Bay.
“I wanted the same opportunity that Bruce had,” Williams said. “I wanted to be able to share some things in the morning, go down and sit with my coach and talk about the team and kind of have input on the team. The UFL gives me that opportunity. [Norfolk owner] Jim [Speros] afforded me the opportunity to be the general manager. Now I can have a little more of an imprint on what happens with this franchise.”
It seems that Williams, 54, is positioning himself for an eventual move to an NFL general manager position, but that’s not his focus, he says.
“I’m thrilled to death,” he said. “I was in the NFL for six years. No one [in the NFL] walked up and gave me this opportunity. My loyalty lies with the UFL and Jim because he gave me an opportunity to do this. To sit here would be unfair to this whole league, it would be unfair to Jim for me to even look at it from that standpoint.
“I’m a general manager. The bottom line is there’s ‘GM’ in front of my name. It’s an opportunity that I wanted, and I got it. It’s up to me to put it to good use and make the best of it.”
The Norfolk franchise, the UFL’s sixth team, will begin play in 2011. Their nickname and game venue will be announced in the near future.
“The good part about the UFL is we’re not trying to compete [with the NFL],” Williams said. “The NFL is the 800-pound gorilla, and we’re not trying to tackle it. We’re trying to make sure this is a very viable league. I think there’s enough players, coaches and fans out there to make this league a very viable league. The places we are going to play are some of these places that are underserved.”
His progress in the job will be interesting to follow. Even though he’s not eyeing an NFL GM job right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in that role eventually.