A Blast From The Past: “The Truth”

Published by Kevin Sloan on

Welcome back Bucs fans to our “Blast from the Past” section, and for this one, I return to my time machine to drop in on “The Truth,aka Karl Williams.

He was born on April 10, 1971, in Albion, Michigan and coming from humble beginnings he had faced many challenges. However, going from Texas A&M-Kingsville to becoming a Super Bowl Champion in 2002 and as a successful arena league player for the Tampa Bay Storm, Karl Williams always found a way to overcome his obstacles.

“From the first time I stepped on a football field everybody told me I couldn’t do it, it seems like every year I found a way to prove everybody wrong. If you say I can’t do it, I’m going to prove you wrong.” – Karl Williams

Williams went undrafted in 1996 and as a free-agent was looking for a shot to prove his worth. Well, that shot came from one day in the form of a telephone call. A rookie head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached out to Karl Williams and gave him a chance; that rookie coach was none other than the great Tony Dungy.

During training camp, he and fellow Buccaneers player Jeff Gooch was hanging around during the final cuts, both of them wondering if they would make the team. Of course, they both made the team. Williams reminisced of that time with Gooch, “I remember those last phone calls when they were making the final cuts my rookie year. It was me and Jeff Gooch, and we were sitting around waiting for that phone call. We called it the Grim Reaper. Everyone was packing up and getting ready to go home, and we were still waiting. Then they came around and said ‘Did you get the call? No? Then you’re good.’ I remember Jeff and I just falling back and saying, ‘Yeah!’

Williams made an instant impact as a return specialist. Towards the end of the 1996 season, his hard work began paying off. He earned the NFC’s Special Team’s Player of the Month, and that was just the beginning.

The 1997 campaign was one of his better seasons. Williams recorded over 450-yards and four touchdowns through the air, but he also returned for close to 597-yards and another touchdown. Most of Williams’ career was surrounded by success as a return specialist.

During his 8 seasons with Tampa Bay, he recorded 7 receiving touchdowns and 5 additional touchdowns as a punt returner. Over his tenure as a Buc’s return specialist, he amassed a total of 1227-yards returning kicks and 2,279-yards in punt returns. Karl Williams owns the Buccaneers franchise record for the most career punt return yards and the most career punt returns for touchdowns [5] in Buc history.

To this day, Karl Williams is still considered a fan favorite around the Tampa Bay community and is primarily known by his nickname, “The Truth” which was coined from the famous boxer, Carl Williams.

Williams’ story is that of success. A rags to riches one if you will. From humble beginnings, he achieved greatness and that greatness continues to this day.

Various Sources: Wikipedia, Pro Football Reference, BucPower.com

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