Travis Williams, who wrestled with homelessness, poverty and alcohol after setting records as a kick returner with the Green Bay Packers, died Sunday after a long illness. He was 45.
Williams died in Martinez, Calif., near his home town of Richmond. He suffered from liver and kidney ailments, his daughter said.
Williams, known as the "Roadrunner," returned four kickoffs for touchdowns his rookie season with the Packers in 1967, an NFL record that still stands. He played four seasons with Green Bay and his best year was 1969, when he rushed for 536 yards.
In October 1988, Williams was one of four people arrested in the District during a sit-in at the office of Sen. Alan Cranston (D.-Calif.). Williams had become an advocate for the homeless after wandering the streets himself, and was protesting cuts in federal housing programs for the poor. . . .
Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, former head coach of the New England Patriots, has been named the Detroit Lions' quarterbacks coach. . . .
Joe Ferguson, 17 years an NFL passer, will coach quarterbacks at Louisiana Tech. . . .
Brent Pease, once a Houston Oiler, was the first quarterback selected in the World League of American Football draft yesterday, by the Birmingham Fire.
Former Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice, perhaps the best-known player available, went in the second round, the 16th player taken overall. He was selected by Barcelona.
The new league, which opens its season March 23, is conducting position-by-position drafts in preparation for training camps that begin Monday.
Former Howard University player John Javis was selected in the fourth round by the London Monarchs. Javis, who played both quarterback and wide receiver in the 1986 and '87 seasons at Howard, was the 35th wide receiver selected.