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Yazoo City Football Pioneer Dies Monday at 65

JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — A former Buffalo Bills defensive end and the first African- American player to appear in a game at Mississippi, Robert Jerry Williams Jr., has died. A native of Yazoo City, Williams was 65 and died Monday from natural causes at a Jackson hospital. Affectionately known as “Gentle Ben” because of his friendly off-field personality, he was an All-American first-team selection in 1975 and a three-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. Williams has the Ole Miss record for career sacks with 37 including a single-season record 18 in 1973. He was drafted by Buffalo in the third round in 1976 and spent 10 years with the Bills, starting in 140 games. Williams was inducted into the Ole Miss and Mississippi sports halls of fame and named an SEC Legend in 2002.

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