Doug Williams, Grambling State to be featured on NFL Network

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Courtesy: Grambling State Athletics

GRAMBLING, La. – Doug Williams and Grambling State University will be featured in an hour-long documentary exploring Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the football foundation provided for HBCU student-athletes to enter the National Football League.

Breaking Ground: A Story of HBCU Football and the NFL includes first-hand interviews with former HBCU players, looking at the “Black Athlete Experience” and the importance of their experiences within the context of America’s history and social climate. Every athlete connects his individual stories to the experiences of African Americans as a whole, providing words of inspiration on subjects from breaking stereotypes to surviving and thriving on a playing field that is anything but level.

“Breaking Ground” is a Black History Month project on the NFL Network scheduled to air Friday (Feb. 9) at 7 p.m. (Central) and 8 p.m. (Eastern) with reruns to be scheduled.

The documentary includes six parts.

Williams, who is a Grambling State graduate, is one of the featured players. After a successful football career at Grambling State, Williams entered the NFL as the lowest paid starting quarterback in 1978 and rose three decades later to become senior vice president for player personnel of the Washington Redskins, an organization once known for its segregated history. In 1988, he became the first black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl.

Others featured in the documentary are Mississippi Valley State University alum Jerry Rice, a longtime San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, who provides a window into his legendary and unsurpassed work ethic; Southern University graduate Mel Blount, the prolific Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback whose setbacks and triumphs literally altered the rules of football, and the NFL’s only current black punter, the Oakland Raiders’ Marquette King, a Fort Valley State University graduate, whose willingness to be unique has forever changed the way we see his position.

With its in-depth exploration of the black experience in American life and sport, the story pays moving homage to HBCUs around the country and to the countless athletes they’ve shaped, the men who in any ways helped create the NFL as we know it today. This film shows how HBCUs are integral to NFL recruiting, though it is not often mentioned. The documentary’s purpose is to inspire new generations to look at HBCUs and how they handle their athletes through encouragement and creating a community atmosphere that differs from other larger universities.

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