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Dokie Williams Has Earned a Black Hat : His In-Your-Face Spike Sunday Makes Him More Like a Raider

November 18, 1986|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

Did Bad Dude Dokie Williams spike a football about 90 m.p.h. and an inch from the helmet of the Cleveland Browns' Hanford Dixon?

Damn straight, he did.

Dixon asked for it, didn't he? He tackled Bad Dude after he'd crossed the goal line Sunday, or pretty close to it.

Did Bad Dude get flagged for 15 yards for taunting? Big deal. Are they still giving campaign ribbons for those in El Segundo?

And then something truly unusual happened in Raiderdom:

Williams apologized.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," he said, using a phrase that has never been emblazoned on Raider letterhead. "I'm not proud of it."

Meet the unlikeliest Raider of them all, Mr. Nice Guy, modest, soft-spoken Dokie Williams. The Raiders had him do the media breakfast recently. When Williams was through answering questions, promotion director Mike Ornstein said, "Thanks Dokie, that was the most boring thing I've ever heard."

What's a peace-loving man like this doing among these brigands?

There was a time when he wondered.

"I knew from hearsay the reputation of the Raiders," Williams said Monday. "I didn't know it was true until I got here.

"You wonder exactly what it's going to be like. What's going to happen to me? Am I going to be able to survive there? And if I do, will I still be myself or will I be totally different?

"You watched the way they played--the Tatums, Atkinsons, Villapianos, Matuszaks, Alzados, guys like that. You could see from the way they played football, you could tell a little about their personalities. A guy can say, 'I'm this way on the field, but I'm another way off it.' There can only be so much separation, I think."

Williams, growing up in Oceanside, says he never liked the San Diego Chargers. Menacing or not, he liked the Raiders.

Of course, he never thought they'd be coming after him. Then one day they did, drafting him in the fifth round from UCLA. He started his first training camp, wondering if they were then going to wolf him down like a Ritz cracker. Was he going to get a crash course in the human elbow?

"As a matter of fact, at first it kinda was," Williams said. "As soon as the veterans came to camp, they threw a lot of forearms. There was a lot of jamming, bumping-and-running at the line of scrimmage, which I wasn't used to. It seemed like everybody was getting their hands on me and I was getting pushed around.

"A chief tormentor? There were about four of them. Lester (Hayes), definitely. James Davis. We went at it a lot in training camp.

"It seemed like every body wanted to get their hands on me. Around here, it's not just the rookies. If you haven't played here before, they consider you a rookie.

"My first fight was probably with J.D. (Davis). What happened, it was a bump-and-run situation near the goal line. The first time I caught the ball. He grabbed me by the shirt and threw me on the ground. I got up and he said, 'Let's do it again.'

"This wasn't a tackling drill. So it happened again. By the third time, we started wrestling."

After a week, the beatings subsided. Four seasons later, Williams is a real Raider. Contrary to legend, they have all types, even if some of the smaller ones insist they're intimidators, too. Cliff Branch, who went a fast 170, likes to point out that his speed intimidated.

Williams, asked if he intimidates, broke up into an embarrassed laugh. He just catches passes and tosses in the occasional spike-taunt. He is coming off consecutive 100-yard games, with 4 touchdowns in 3 halves. He has 37 catches, a 20.4 average and a shot at his first 1,000-yard season.

The best Williams statistic, though, has nothing to do with football. The day after the Raiders lost their season opener in Denver, they were to send five players to appear at a children's cancer ward. Four young players attended and one regular--Williams. Williams has the team's heaviest charity appearance schedule.

"He'll never say no," Ornstein said. "In all my years here, I've only had a handful like him--Rod Martin, Lyle Alzado."

The Raiders seem to have started wondering who else is going to be going deep for them. Jessie Hester is once more putting the ball on the floor as often as Magic Johnson. Mervyn Fernandez, the Canadian League star slated for delivery next season, missed half of this one with an injury that is said to have cut down his speed. A Raider player says Tim Moffett's increased playing time was ordered by Al Davis.

Well, one spot is accounted for, anyway.

"I learned that everybody around here is an individual," Williams said. "There is no mold. I don't think they try to create a mold the way they do on other teams. It's more or less be yourself and do your job.

"This is a fun team. I've been on teams where it seemed like they really didn't want you to have fun. If you went back to UCLA and asked the coaches if I was a nice guy, they'd probably say no. They'd probably tell you I was a rebel.

"There were times when I was. My senior year--my senior year--they asked me to be a scout team dummy and I just wouldn't do it. There were times when I was just upset. I just didn't want to cooperate, I'll admit it."

Now he cooperates wonderfully. The Raiders love having a nice guy around, especially if he can run 4.4 and tear footballs away from defenders. As long as he doesn't start a nice-guy trend.

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