John L Williams
John L. Williams was born on November 23, 1964 in Palatka, Florida. Williams was a 5’ 11” 231-pound fullback and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks with pick 15 of the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida.

John L. Williams #32

Player Info

Height 5' 11"
Weight 231 lbs
DOB: 11/23/1964
Fullback - RB


NFL Draft

1986/Round 1/Pick 15

Career Highlights

Pro Bowl

1990, 1991

Team(s) As A Player

Seattle Seahawks 1986-1993
Pittsburgh Steelers 1994-1995

Williams’ Blocking

John L. Williams understands his role for the Seattle Seahawks. "I'm supposed to block for Curt Warner because he's our premier running back," Williams said. (1)  During his career, John L. Williams was the consummate blocking back in the NFL, leading the way for Curt Warner. "He has proven he can run and catch the ball. But when you think about anyone in the league right now who can block like him, nobody else even comes to mind," said Seattle player personnel director Mike Allman. (2)

John L. Williams’ Big Games

During John L. Williams’ 10-year career, he had many outstanding games, considering his blocking ability, and also was very productive as a runner and a receiver. Here are some of his best performances.

On a September 20, 1987 John L. Williams got his chance against the Kansas City Chiefs, and recorded the first 100-yard rushing game of his career in a 43-14 victory. Williams carried the ball 15 times for 112 yards, including his first NFL touchdown, a one-yard run in the third quarter. "This was really a great thrill," Williams said. "It's been a long time since I had a 100-yard rushing game." Williams also added 3 catches for another 38 yards in the passing game. (1)

On December 20, 1987, the Seahawks played the Chicago Bears on “Walter Payton Day.”  John L. Williams had a spectacular game. The Seahawks fullback blocked like an offensive lineman, caught passes like a tight end, and ran the ball as if he were the starting halfback. After the Bears had driven 87 yards to tie the game at 14, Williams erased their momentum in one play. He caught a 75-yard pass for a touchdown to give the Seahawks back the lead, and the momentum. Seattle won 34-21 and Williams had one of his finest games. He caught 8 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown and ran 5 times for another 26 yards. (3)

It was December 17, 1989 and the Seattle Seahawks were playing the Raiders. Seattle was playing spoiler and they upset the Raiders 23-17. The Seahawks went 76 yards in 14 plays for their game-winning touchdown, on Krieg's 13-yard pass to fullback John L. Williams at 13:49 of the third quarter for a 20-17 lead. With 6:44 left, Norm Johnson kicked a 43-yard field goal. For the game, Williams had 14 carries for 38 yards and 12 catches for another 129 yards and a touchdown. (4)

A year earlier against the Raiders, Williams had his best game as a pro, yardage wise. It also had extra meaning as Seattle could win the AFC West for the first time in their history. Quarterback Dave Krieg had a big day with 410 yards passing and John L. Williams was often his target pulling in 7 catches for a career best 180 yards and a touchdown. Williams also added 14 carries for another 59 yards on the ground. The 239 total yards were also a personal record for Williams. His effort helped the Seahawks win the game and the division, 43-37.

John L. Williams Stiff Arm

The stiff arm is a vital weapon for a running back, but few backs in the league actually use it anymore. When I think of the stiff arm, the first player that comes to mind is Walter Payton who would use it to club defenders trying to tackle him. Well, John L. Williams had one of the best stiff arms of any back in the league. Defensive back Mark Collins recalled, “He had a real good one. John L. put me on my back one time when I was with the Giants. I came up on him and, Bam! I was like, `Dooooh.' Like I said, it was a real good one.'' (6).

Complete Running Back John L. Williams

During the 1988 season, the 5-foot-11, 232-pound fullback rushed for 877 yards and caught 58 passes, thus becoming the first player other than Steve Largent to ever lead the Seahawks in receiving. “Sometimes the least-publicized players are the most important. The man who usually stays in Curt Warner's shadow stepped out Sunday. Player of the game, Seattle fullback John L. Williams blocked like an offensive lineman, ran like a halfback and caught passes like a wideout.” (3) This is the way a Chicago Times reporter put it after one game, but this was an every week occurrence with Williams. He is the definition of a complete running back.

Is Canton Calling?

Most of the fullbacks in the Hall of Fame were great runners and led the league in rushing or were amongst the league leaders. John L. Williams never rushed for 1000 yards in a season, but when you look at the way he played the position, an argument can be made that he belongs in Canton. When you needed him to carry the load, he could. He was invaluable as a blocker both in the running game and the passing game and was a terrific receiver out of the back field. Not only was he a great check down option, but he could make a big play once he got the football. Time will tell if Williams gets the call to Canton, but even if he doesn’t, we will remember him as one of the greatest fullbacks of his era.

By A. Goodin,
November 12, 2007

John L. Williams Bibliography

(1) Seahawks Rock Chiefs (1987, September 21) Chicago Sun-Times
(2) The Case of the Vanishing Blocking Backs; A Forgotten Art, A Rewritten Role In Today's Offenses (1989, September 1) The Washington Post
(3) Chicago Sun-Times, 12-21-1987 “Williams' TD ignites Seattle”
(4) The Washington Post, 12-18-1989 “Seahawks Hurt Raiders' Playoff Bid”
(5) The Washington Post, 12-19-1988 “Seahawks Win AFC West, 43-37”
(6) Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10-16-1998 “Watters Doing His Best To Keep Forgotten Art Alive in the NFL Backfields Stiff-Armed & Dangerous”