Former Gopher and All-American John Williams passed away on Sunday.
Williams helped lead the Gophers to a 1967 Big Ten title before playing 12 years in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts and Los Angeles Rams. He was a member of the Colts when they won the 1971 Super Bowl.
"We were all deeply saddened to learn of John's passing over the weekend," said director of athletics Norwood Teague. "John was a great Gopher who represented both our football program and our community with dignity and class. Losing John at this time is especially difficult considering we just recently celebrated his selection into the M Club Hall of Fame. He will be missed."
Williams was named First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten in 1967. He was a three-year lettwerwinner at Minnesota before being drafted by Baltimore in the first round with the 23rd overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft. Williams went on to play 166 games in the NFL over 12 seasons with the Colts and Rams.
His numerous accomplishments on the field rivaled those he obtained off of it. Upon retirement, Williams returned to Minnesota and became a dentist. He was actively involved in the north Minneapolis community and won the 1992 Minneapolis volunteer of the year award and. He was also a pilot and served on the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which is the governing board at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
"He was someone who seemingly everyone respected," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told the Star Tribune on Sunday afternoon. "John was a crucially important member of many civic projects in north Minneapolis, including revitalizing West Broadway and involving youth."
Funeral arrangements for Williams, who received a kidney transplant last month, are pending. He will be inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame posthumously at the TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 20.