One of my favorite stories in football occurs when teams take a chance on an undrafed free agent and he turns out to be a star for the team. Such was the case with Karl Williams when the Buccaneers brought him in prior to the 1996 season. For eight seasons, Williams served as a wide receiver and punt returner in Tampa Bay, setting franchise records in the process.
Williams, known as “The Truth” by the fans, holds two franchise records. He owns the record for most career punt return yards with 2,565 and career punt return touchdowns with five. His 2,565 yards also rank 24th all-time in NFL history. Not bad for an undrafted player out of Texas A&M-Kingsville. Yeah, I haven’t heard of that school either.
Although not really known for his receiving ability, Williams provided value to the offense, scoring seven touchdowns during his time with the team. When he left Tampa Bay before the 2004 season, Williams had 1,700 receiving yards to his name. He went on to play one season with the Arizona Cardinals, but only managed 197 yards during the 2004 season.
One of the most underrated aspects of Williams game was his ability to stay on the field. Every season of his career, including the 2004 season in Arizona, Williams played in a minimum of 13 games.
In a league where injuries are such a commonplace, it is impressive that Williams was able to keep himself positioned to help the team instead of on the bench. A fan favorite and somewhat forgotten member of the late ’90s early 2000s Buccaneers teams, Williams is more than deserving of this recognition.