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Former Packers DE Clarence Williams dies

"Big Cat" played for Green Bay from 1970-77


Clarence Williams, a starting defensive end for the Green Bay Packers for most of his eight seasons, died May 8.

Williams, 70, played for the Packers from 1970 to 1977. Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 13, at Spring Grove Funeral Home in Cincinnati.

The Packers acquired Williams on Sept. 1, 1970, in a trade with Dallas. The Packers received Williams and center Malcolm Walker in exchange for future Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley, who had threatened to retire if he wasn't traded over a bitter spat with coach and general manager Phil Bengtson.

Williams had been drafted by the Cowboys in the 11th round in 1969 and spent the season on their taxi squad, the equivalent of today's practice squad. Williams played collegiately at Prairie View A&M and was an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds with a background as a weight man in track and field.

Williams started the last seven games at left defensive end in his first season with the Packers and held the job through 1976, playing in 107 consecutive games at one point. After filling in at both defensive end and tackle in 1977, Williams was released in training camp in 1978.

In 1972, when the Packers won the NFC Central Division, Williams led them in sacks with nine, although sacks weren't yet an official statistic. Three of them came in the title-clinching game against Minnesota and future Pro Football Hall of Fame tackle Ron Yary on Dec. 10.

"I've been in Green Bay 10 years and I've never seen anybody tackle Fran Tarkenton three times in one game," linebacker Dave Robinson said in the Packers' locker room at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. "But the Big Cat (Williams' nickname) did it today."

In 1975, Williams had a career best 10½ sacks, but he always felt 1972 was his best season.

"I don't think I had a great year after that year," he said in a 2004 interview. "I had solid years."

In all, he played in 111 games for the Packers.

Williams was a player representative for the Packers during his career. He also made Green Bay home when he left football and served as a defensive coach for St. Norbert College for two years.

From 1988-91, he coached at Southeast Missouri State. He moved to Cincinnati in 1994.

Williams is survived by Icy, his wife of 48 years, and his children Clarence Jr., Cary Leon and Marla Rachelle.

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