FTBL Former Alabama lineman gets Super Bowl ring 30 years after game

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Former Alabama lineman gets Super Bowl ring 30 years after game

More than 30 years after his three NFL games, former Alabama standout Willard Scissum has received a Super Bowl ring from the Washington Redskins.

Scissum was among the 26 players who attended a Tuesday ceremony, during which they were recognized for their contributions to Washington's 1987 NFL championship team by filling in for striking players. Scissum and the other "replacement" players received Super Bowl rings at the event, three decades after the regular players who had returned and finished the season did.

A 24-day players' strike interrupted the 1987 NFL season. After the Week 3 games were canceled, the league staged its games for the next three weeks with mainly replacement players while the regular rosters were on strike.

Washington was the only NFL team that did not have a regular player cross the picket line, but the Redskins went 3-0 -- defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys -- with an all-replacement team.

Each replacement player received a playoff share of about $27,000 after Washington defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII on Jan. 31, 1988, but they did not get rings.

"There's no way in the climate in 1987 you could give them rings," said Charley Casserly, who was Washington's assistant general manager at the time. "There was tremendous animosity. No (regular) player stood up and said they should be recognized. ...

"It evolved over time. A number of our players stood up and said they should -- some of our high-profile players. I evolved with it. I always felt they needed to be recognized."

Casserly served as the master of ceremonies on Tuesday, with a little something to say about every player as he came up to get his ring.

After he called Scissum's name, Casserly said: "Have I got a story to tell you about Willard," and he related how Scissum, who'd played in the Canadian Football League, had come from a job in a rough part of Washington, D.C., to play right offensive tackle for the Redskins during the strike games, most memorably a 13-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Running back Tony Dorsett, defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones and defensive tackle Randy White were among the star players who took the field for Dallas against Washington's replacements in the Week 6 Monday night game.

"Willard's job when we signed him, literally, he was a guard at a 7-Eleven in Southeast," Casserly said. "In 1987, that was a tough job. For those of you who go to Nats' games, you know that 7-Eleven you pass? He was the guard.

"His assignment on Monday night in October of '87 was not to guard 7-Eleven, it was to guard our quarterback, and he had to block Too Tall Jones, a great player. Too Tall -- zero sacks. Somebody asked me would Willard be intimidated trying to block the great Too Tall Jones. I said, 'Nah.' It was a night off for him."

Three of Washington's regular players from the 1987 team attended Tuesday's ring presentation -- wide receiver Gary Clark, defensive end Dexter Manley and quarterback Doug Williams.

"The 3-0 record of the Redskins' replacement players was part of the remarkable success of the 1987 Washington Redskins," Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a press release. "Their contributions are part of Redskins' history and represent an integral reason why a Lombardi Trophy from the 1987 campaign resides in our facility today. Thanks in part to the generosity of our partners on this project, we are happy to honor these players for their role in that world championship."

Scrissum played his high school football at Lee-Huntsville, and he played at Alabama from 1981 through 1984.