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Cover for Fifth Ward to Fourth Quarter

Fifth Ward to Fourth Quarter

Football's Impact on an NFL Player's Body and Soul (Swaim-Paup Sports Series, sponsored by James C. '74 & Debra Parchman Swaim and T. Edgar '74 & Nancy Paup)

Delvin Williams


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After his release from the Green Bay Packers, realizing that his football career was abruptly over, Delvin Williams asked himself some hard questions: What happened to the game he fell in love with as a kid? What is a retired football player supposed to do? Where did he fit in? Nothing had prepared him for life after football.

From his childhood in inner-city Houston and school days at all-Black Kashmere High School, Williams tells the story of a young boy who realized that football filled some of the empty places in his spirit left by an absent father, a poverty-stricken childhood, and the ongoing sting of racism. His determination carried him through a four-year degree at the University of Kansas and, ultimately, an All-Pro career with the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Football afforded him an education and a good living. But it also had an impact on his body and soul beyond anything he could have imagined.

In Fifth Ward to Fourth Quarter: Football’s Impact on an NFL Player’s Body and Soul, Delvin Williams brings readers on the long journey from Houston’s Fifth Ward to the packed stadiums of the NFL, continuing with his decades-long fight for the compensation due an athlete who sustained injuries on the job. Here, Williams recounts the circumstances that motivated him to meet challenges at every level, exceeding his own expectations, telling the story of a career that produced a head-on collision between a starry-eyed kid from the tough streets of Houston and the industry of football.

Praise For Fifth Ward to Fourth Quarter: Football's Impact on an NFL Player's Body and Soul (Swaim-Paup Sports Series, sponsored by James C. '74 & Debra Parchman Swaim and T. Edgar '74 & Nancy Paup)

“Delvin William fought two great battles: getting out of Houston’s Fifth Ward all the way to the National Football League, with a hard-earned college degree in hand; and fighting for his health and financial security after his football career ended at the age of 30, when the dream ended.  This is the real-life of a professional football player, not the glamorous one in the media.”— Mike Oriard
— Mike Oriard

“I’ve never been around anyone who is as complete a running back as Delvin Williams. Nobody, but nobody.”—Don Shula (1930–2020), head coach, Miami Dolphins
— Don Shula

“From ghetto to glory, a human triumph”—Dave Newhouse, former sportswriter for the Oakland Tribune
— Dave Newhouse

“Delvin is a Houston legend, a phenomenal football player, and I had the pleasure of watching him run.” —Lester Hayes
— Lester Hayes

Texas A&M University Press, 9781648430718, 320pp.

Publication Date: October 26, 2022

About the Author

DELVIN WILLIAMS is a former All-Pro running back for the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins, rushing for more than 1,200 yards for both teams. He is the first running back in the history of the NFL to rush for a thousand yards or more and set team records for these AFC and NFC teams.