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Mike Williams remembered, 1957-2013

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The family of Mike Williams, former Parkland High School graduate, want to keep Mike’s name remembered. 

“He’s gone, but we can’t forget him," Mike's brother, Morris Williams said.

In the mid 70’s Mike earned an athletic scholarship to the University of New Mexico where he played running back. The 6-foot-3 recorded a career 3,862 yards, earned the 1978 Western Athletic Conference player of the year and was the All-Time rushing leader in the WAC until 1986.

“Mike, they called him the loco motive." Morris said. "When he would hit somebody, he’d just run you over. He was six three about 236 pounds.”

Mike is one of four players at UNM to have his jersey retired. 

“I just feel like we have somebody doing that in El Paso, you know we want to recognize them," Morris said.

Later, Mike was recognized by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1979 NFL draft where he was picked up in the eighth round. After three seasons with the Chiefs he suffered a knee injury.

“When he had his knee surgery he couldn’t pass another physical," Morris said.

Mike’s knee injury is only part of the reason why his NFL career was halted. 

Life after the NFL meant moving back to Northeast El Paso where Mike’s family resides. He spent a lot of time with his younger brother Morris also knowns as “Mo” helping him run Mo’z BBQ restaurant. In December of 2013, 56 year-old mike passed away from heart failure. However, his brother Morris believed there was something else wrong. 

“There was just one one day and I just remember telling him you know, what’s wrong what’s wrong you know? And we didn’t know," Morris said.

It turns out Mike was later diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy also known as, CTE."

“At the time I didn’t know it had to do with the CTE, I really didn’t," Morris said. "Mike was always healthy, he had his knee injuries and he liked to drink a little bit but nothing out of the ordinary."

According to, "A diagnosis of CTE requires evidence of degeneration of brain tissue and deposits of tau and other proteins in the brain. This can only be seen after death during an autopsy." 

“I remember at the end when he passed away there was a little bit of divide whether to send the brain and the spine or not," Morris said. "I was definitely for it because I knew something was wrong. Mike is a gentle giant, towards the end there he was very aggressive, he could be very aggressive and that’s not him. That was just not him.” 

Mildred and Mark Williams, Mike’s mom and brother will never forget who Mike Williams really was.

“Wonderful person," Mildred said. "I'm sure everybody in Kansas city enjoyed him also. He’s really missed I’ll tell you that.”

“My brother was a good guy," Mark said. "Well liked, a showman, a gentleman, hell of a football player, a legacy for El Paso.”

Article Topic Follows: Sports

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Bea Martinez


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