The Green Bay Packers announced on Friday that former Prairie View A&M and Packers defensive end Clarence “Big Cat” Williams passed away earlier this week. He was 70 years old.
Originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969, Williams was later traded to Green Bay prior to his rookie season. While in Green Bay, Williams established himself as an elite defensive player, peaking between 1972 and 1975.
From the Packers’ official statement:
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.
Williams retired from pro football after being cut by the Packers prior to the 1978 season. He later became a coach in the college football ranks, but he later retired from that job as well after opening a travel agency in Cincinnati.
Williams is survived by his wife of 48 years and three children.