TAMPA BAY, Fla. – Harvard left offensive tackle James Williams (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) has signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an announcement made today. Williams will be in Tampa Bay this weekend for the team’s minicamp.
Tampa Bay did not draft any offensive linemen among its nine picks over the weekend but signed a total of four with two guards and two tackles on Monday. All told, just 38 offensive linemen were drafted in the seven-round NFL draft, with 17 tackles being picked. Tampa bay currently has three tackles listed on its roster including second-year players Xavier Fulton (Illinois) and Demar Dotson (Southern Mississippi) along with third-year player James Lee (South Carolina State).
Williams will begin workouts as one of five active Harvard players in the NFL. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick enters his sixth season in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, with whom he appeared in 10 games last season, starting eight following a 2008 campaign in which he started 12 games for the Cincinnati Bengals. Chris Pizzotti is a member of the Green Bay Packers and Desmond Bryant is in his second year with the Oakland Raiders after collecting 32 tackles last season with one forced fumble. Matt Birk, meanwhile, is entering his 14th season, and is a member of the Baltimore Ravens. The six-time Pro Bowl center has played 146 regular season games, starting 123. Running Back Clifton Dawson recently retired following a three-year career with Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
One of the nation's premier linemen, Williams finished his career as a three-time All-America selection at left offensive tackle for Harvard. His extremely long arms and superior technique led to his selection as a three-time unanimous choice All-Ivy League pick by the head coaches. He started every game since his sophomore season.