Marcus Williams relived for jurors yesterday the face-smashing punch teammate Bill Romanowski leveled on him during a practice drill that ended the former Oakland Raiders tight end's career after two seasons.
The 27-year-old Williams then told jurors in Oakland, Calif., why he was suing Romanowski in state court for $3.8 million in damages. The Aug. 24, 2003 attack, he testified, broke his left eye socket, shortened his memory and gave him double vision and depression.
"I felt that that wasn't right. That wasn't a fight, that was an assault," he said as jurors and Romanowski listened to his testimony in a cramped courtroom.
Williams said after he blocked Romanowski during a running drill, Romanowski grabbed his helmet and then ripped it off before the crushing blow was delivered.
Hours before Williams took the stand, Romanowski finished his second day of testimony. After admitting that he punched Williams, Romanowski testified he's not sure how he would react again under the same circumstances.
"Would you do it again?" Williams's attorney, James Brosnahan, asked.
"If I was pushed in the back when I was playing football, I don't know what I would do, sir," Romanowski replied.
Romanowski, 38, nearly came to tears on the witness stand Tuesday. He told jurors he didn't remember much about the practice session nearly two years ago, but said a fight broke out after Williams pushed him during practice.
Williams testified his life has now turned into nightmare, with no real hopes of playing football while at the same time seeing Romanowski in his dreams. "It's just him grabbing my helmet," Williams testified.
Williams, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent, played in 13 games as a rookie during Oakland's Super Bowl season.
The Raiders have claimed they are not responsible for any damages and fined Romanowski $60,000. Romanowski was not charged with a crime.
Romanowski said it was a legitimate fight resulting from Williams pushing him in the back.
NFL INVESTIGATES TICE: The league acknowledged that it is looking into allegations that Minnesota Coach Mike Tice scalped Super Bowl tickets.
Tice confirmed to the Associated Press Tuesday that he had met with league security officials, but declined to elaborate.