Continuing our ongoing series on the Dallas Cowboys Top 10 Candidates For The Ring Of Honor: I am presenting Erik Williams. I had originally published this piece when I was at Sport DFW. When I started YDCFF my former editor from there, C. Joseph Wright, came on board as the senior editor here. We decided to continue the series. I found it appropriate to re-post this piece along with the other candidates for those who didn’t get to see them the first time. I would like to give a special thanks to former NFL scout,Â Bryan Broaddus, who coauthored this piece with me.
Erik Williams was born on September 7th 1968. He started out as a dominant defensive lineman at John Martram High School. As a result of poor grades, he wasn’t able to obtain a Division-I scholarship, so he enrolled at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. At CSU they converted him to the offensive left tackle position. They groomed him to become a prolific player at the NAIA level and an All-American.
During his college career he played a major role in the Marauders getting to the NAIA national championship in 1990. Erik Williams helped the offense average 492 yards and 54.8 points per game to set an NAIA record for most points in a singe season with 594. ErikÂ Williams was inducted into the Central State University Sports Hall of Fame In 2010.
Erik Williams, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 3rd round of the 1991 NFL Draft (with a choice from the Steve Walsh trade), another brilliant move by Jimmy Johnson. Williams didn’t see much playing time as a rookie, because Nate Newton was playing right tackle. His dominant play during the 1992 training camp forced the Cowboys to move Nate Newton to left guard in order to have all of their best players on the offensive line.
In 1992, after becoming the Cowboy’s starting right tackle, Erik Williams earned the respect of his peers and the fans alike when he held Hall Of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White without a sack in a 20-10 Dallas Cowboys win. He earnedÂ the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week award. From then on he was nicknamed “Big E”and by 1993 his physical, dominant, and aggressive style of play, made him the top offensive lineman in the NFL.
Erik Williams got in a serious one-car accident on October 24, 1994, and it caused him to miss most of the 1994 season. (Ironically it’s the year the Cowboys didn’t make the Super Bowl during their 90’s run). It took a long time before he was 100%. He suffered an injured right knee as well as a broken rib, torn ligaments in his left thumb and facial lacerations that needed plastic surgery. An MRI of the knee showed he had two torn ligaments. The MCL (medial collateral) and PC (posterior cruciate) as well as a torn muscle.
Williams returned in 1995. He wasn’t his old self, but he was still good enough to help the team win Super Bowl XXX and earn his 3rd trip to the Pro Bowl. Williams was a three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler, playing in the 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1999 Pro Bowls. His ability to protect quarterback Troy Aikman and to run-block for running back Emmitt Smith helped the Cowboys win Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995. From 1992 to 1995, together with Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei, Mark Stepnoski and Larry Allen, he was part of what was arguably the best offensive line in NFL history.