Ex-Gophers football star Williams dies

by Andrew Krammer

John Williams, a former Gophers star tackle who played in three Super Bowls in the NFL, died on Sunday while out for a walk, the Star Tribune reported. He was 64.

Williams played for the Gophers in the mid-1960s, earning All-Big Ten honors while helping lead Minnesota to a co-Big Ten championship in 1967.

The Super Bowl champion Williams was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Colts and eventually played for the Los Angeles Rams. He played in three Super Bowls, winning one in 1971.

Since his football career, Williams had become a well-respected civic leader and led his own dental practice.

"He was someone who seemingly everyone respected," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told the Star Tribune. "John was a crucially important member of many civic projects in north Minneapolis, including revitalizing West Broadway and involving youth."

Williams, who had kidney disease, had received a kidney transplant at the Mayo Clinic last month from former Gophers trainer Steve Nestor, who also served on the Gophers' 1967 co-Big Ten championship team.