- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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I’m taking a little time off. But, while I do, I wanted to leave you with something to keep you entertained.
Starting today and continuing through the rest of this week, I’m going to share with you my ranking of the top five players in Tampa Bay history.
I’m going to start with Doug Williams at No. 5. Williams wasn’t a slam dunk like the first four (although the order on them was a challenge). As I attempted to come up with No. 5, I considered players like John Lynch, Jimmie Giles, Mike Alstott, Paul Gruber and Hardy Nickerson.
After a lot of thought, I chose Williams. My reasoning was simple. Williams and Lee Roy Selmon, who will be a little higher up in the top five, were the two players who first brought respectability to a franchise that began its existence with an 0-26 record.
Williams led the Bucs to the NFC Championship Game in just their fourth year of existence. Williams never put up spectacular numbers, but he had a knack for producing in the clutch. I have no doubt that Williams would have ranked higher on this list if he had stayed with the Bucs longer.
But Williams spent only five years in Tampa Bay. He left for the United States Football League after an ugly salary dispute. The Bucs went into a tailspin after Williams’ departure and some suggested it was karma for the way the team treated Williams.
Things were smoothed over for a while as Williams came to work in the team’s personnel office in the 2000s. But Williams and former general manager Mark Dominik clashed and Williams left the team. It’s a shame that one of the best players in franchise history has an icy relationship with the team.