Alabama opens the college football season Saturday in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Across the street, a local star known for both his time with the Tide and Cowboys will be signing his new book.
“I think the experiences that I’ve had are going to be a great teaching tool,” said Sherman Williams.
Sherman Williams was the consummate winner, capturing a state high school championship at Blount, a national championship at Alabama and an NFL title with the Dallas Cowboys.
But he was never able to escape his upbringing on streets of Prichard
“As a kid, as a child, as an adolescent, your behavior patterns begin,” said Williams. “My behavior pattern began when I was 11, 12 years old, I started to use drugs, get involved with alcohol, started to be involved in criminal behavior.”
That behavior did not change in Tuscaloosa, despite his success on the field.
“A lot of people would be surprised with the drug and criminal activity I was involved in while at the University of Alabama,” Williams said.
Activity that continued during and after his pro career and landed him behind bars for 14 years for dealing drugs.
“I decided to write a book when I was incarcerated,” he said. That book is being released this week – “Crimson Cowboy – The Rise and Fall of a Three Time Champion.”
“I tell a lot of stories in the book about the experiences I had while growing up in the City of Prichard – going thru that environment, coming up in that culture. Coming up in a city where you have drug infestation, a lot of crime, things going on in the community that are not positive, that are not a positive atmosphere that will not produce a positive result.”
Williams says it is not just a football book, but a cautionary tale. It’s a message he spreads as well as a youth coach for the Prichard Cowboys – an organization he started this year.
The Cowboys practice on the site of the old Blount High School, where Sherman Williams football glory began.
“I experienced the highs of highs,” Williams said. “I shook hands with the President of the United States by winning two championships. I went to the White House on two occasions. But then to also fall all the way down to be incarcerated in federal prison for 15 years. To lose everything. To lose it all.”
It’s the story of the Crimson Cowboy and one Williams hopes won’t be repeated by the next big star to come off the fields and streets of Prichard – a place that Williams now lives.
“In the City of Prichard they’ll let you know ‘hey you messed up but we’re still behind you.’ One thing I can say about this country is that it is a very forgiving country. Everybody makes mistakes. No one is perfect. You live and you learn. The thing about is making the most of an opportunity. When you make a mistake you have a chance to correct it. Doing the right thing. Turning it around. That’s what this is all about.”
Williams works selling and financing cars at Tameron Honda in Daphne. He is also involved with a charitable foundation with former Alabama teammate David Palmer. He says he has reconnected with his Christian faith and approaches every day as a blessing and an opportunity to help others.
“Crimson Cowboy” is available on Amazon. In it, Williams tells his story through his selection by the Dallas Cowboys. His pro career and incarceration will be detailed in a second volume due out next year.