CARLISLE, PA., AUG. 26 -- Washington Redskins backup quarterback Doug Williams, concerned about the way he will be treated by the media and fans in Tampa, Fla., has asked Coach Joe Gibbs not to play him in the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium Saturday night.

Gibbs said today he probably will honor Williams' request.

Williams, 32, played for the Buccaneers from 1978 to 1982, leading the team to the playoffs three times and to the NFC championship game in 1979. But he was never accepted by some fans because he is black, he has said, and even now he is a controversial figure in Tampa.

"I may not play Doug this week," Gibbs said after practice this morning at the team's Dickinson College training camp. "I don't think there's any sense in drumming up the old injuries and wounds again. We have respect for Tampa Bay. I think Doug does, too. And I think he'd rather kind of let all that die {as opposed to} taking it back out there again and getting it all stirred up. I'm not sure he wants to go through that again."

When Williams joined the Redskins a year ago after two seasons in the U.S. Football League, his first playing time came against the Buccaneers in a preseason game at Tampa Stadium.

When he arrived in town on the Redskins' charter, he was whisked into a packed news conference. When he ran onto the field to replace Jay Schroeder in the second half, he received what sounded like an even amount of boos and cheers, but he said he felt uncomfortable playing in his old stadium. What's more, 45,136 people showed up, many just to see him play. The Buccaneers drew only 28,000 the previous preseason game.

Williams said today he didn't want to go through that again this weekend.

"Last year, when I came in, I played because I had to play," he said. "This year, I don't feel like there is a pressing or dying need for me to play. I prefer not to get into all the media hype and all the emotions and a lot of drawn-out whatever. I don't want to give their players any more ambition to get psyched up with me playing. I just want to stand on the sideline and be a cheerleader."

Williams said he spoke to Gibbs earlier this week about not playing.

"He told me he'll see what happens," Williams said. "I'm sure that if things go right, if Jay comes in and does what he's supposed to do and {Mark Rypien} does the job, I probably won't play. If something should happen and I have to play, I have no choice. But I'd prefer not to."

Buccaneers public relations director Rick Odioso said today the team would have no comment on Williams' playing status. About 49,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's 7 p.m. game. The Buccaneers averaged 54,672 for their first two home games this preseason.

In addition to some fans reacting to him personally and his performances over the years in Tampa, Williams has bad memories of a contract dispute that ultimately forced him to leave Tampa Bay for the USFL in 1983. He reportedly wanted a four-year contract worth about $600,000 a year, but the Buccaneers were offering him about $425,000 per year.

"When I look back at it {not getting the money he wanted}, it might be the best thing that ever happened to me," Williams said in an interview when he became a Redskin last August. "I'm not a Tampa Bay fan. I've still got a lot of friends on the team, don't get me wrong . . . But some things I said were taken out of context and were not really explained.

"When I said I wasn't pulling for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win, that was true, but then there were a lot of black Americans who were not pulling for them."

Gibbs and Williams both arrived in Tampa in 1978, Gibbs as the team's offensive coordinator, Williams as its first-round draft pick from Grambling. They became fast friends, a relationship that has lasted to this day. When the USFL disbanded last summer, Gibbs told Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard he wanted Williams. The Redskins obtained him by trading a fifth-round 1987 draft choice and a conditional 1988 pick to Tampa Bay, which still held Williams' NFL rights.

Williams signed a three-year contract worth about $1.4 million and became the team's No. 2 quarterback, a position he retains. However, he played in just one game last season, the second Dallas game, and threw just one incompletion. Williams has said on numerous occasions he would like to be playing first-string in the NFL, and Gibbs has said he understands and would like to accommodate him.

The Los Angeles Raiders reportedly offered the Redskins a middle-round draft pick for Williams in the spring, but the Redskins turned that down -- Gibbs said he thought Williams was worth a first-round draft choice. Four months later, rumors of a trade remain, although Gibbs said today there have been no phone calls from other teams asking about Williams.

Williams' chances for playing time this season don't look much brighter. He has completed 16 of 33 passes for 237 yards in two preseason games in relief of Schroeder. Once the season starts, however, Schroeder will play unless he gets injured.

Meanwhile, Rypien, a promising second-year quarterback from Washington State, has played in only one preseason game. The coaches would like him to get more playing time, and the Tampa Bay game would be a logical spot for it. Schroeder is expected to play at least the first half, and perhaps into the second half as well. As things stand now, Rypien would play the rest of the game.

Williams, who is best known for having an incredibly strong arm, played for the Buccaneers during their best days. From 1978 to 1982, Tampa Bay compiled three winning seasons and an overall record of 34-38-1. Williams played in all but six of those games, completing 895 of 1,890 passes for 12,648 yards, 73 touchdowns and 73 interceptions. In 1979, Williams led the Buccaneers to an upset of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the NFC playoffs before the team lost the conference title game to the Los Angeles Rams, 9-0.

In the four years since Williams left Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers have gone 2-14, 6-10, 2-14 and 2-14.