In our DallasCowboys.com Ultimate 53 today, there is usually a player or two that I have a fond memory from my days of growing up a Cowboys fan at Texas Stadium or a player that I was fortunate enough to work with like a Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin. But today is a different memory because offensive tackle Erik Williams takes his rightful place in the lineup.
The first time I remember seeing Erik Williams was an early October match up when my Packers and were manhandled by the Cowboys 36-14, then later that season for the first of our three playoff losses at Texas Stadium. Matter of fact, we would lose to Williams and this Cowboys squad, seven times while I was in Green Bay. I always remember the week of practice leading up to those games and how much the Cowboys personnel troubled our players but particularly how much the great Reggie White did not look forward to facing Erik Williams.
We all know that White was a legendary player that feared no man or even felt like anyone could block him, except Erik Williams. Williams was not the most talented tackle that White ever faced but he was the nastiest.
I remember White on the sideline talking about how Williams on the opening play hit him in his throat with his fist, or take his thumb and poke White in the eye blurring his vision. I had never seen a player leg whip Reggie or dive in the back of his legs like Williams did. Williams was able to reduce one of the greatest rushers of all time into a non-factor in the game.
That battle actually started when White played for Philadelphia. In a game in 1992, Williams held his own against White so well, he won NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Williams is still the only lineman in Cowboys history to win that award.
Reggie White was playing to survive Erik Williams and not sack Aikman or trap Emmitt Smith in the backfield for a loss. Williams would frustrate and physically beat Reggie up during the game, so much so that White would not play as hard thus we would lose our best defensive player for that day. Erik Williams didn't defeat Reggie White with technique, he turned it into a brawl and Reggie knew it every time he lined up across from Williams.
In my career in Green Bay with Reggie White, I never witnessed a tackle that dominated him the way that Erik Williams did. White hated playing him and for good reason because one-on-one, Williams got in White's head and took him out of the game. It even got to the point that we knew that someone other than Reggie was going to have to make plays against the Cowboys because he wasn't . There is something to be said about a player that physically destroyed Reggie White's will to compete. I never thought I would see it but I did and there many days where walking out of Texas Stadium, I wish I hadn't.
If anyone in my book deserves to be on this 53-man roster, it's Erik Williams, I know that Reggie White would vote for him.