Friday, August 10, 2012

Williams stands the test of time as Redskins Greatest Fan

Chief Zee and Moe at Redskinn Park
                        photo by Billy Ector

By Michael “Moe” Murphy
Training Camp Correspondent

ASHBURN – As the Washington Redskins celebrate their 80th Anniversary there have been too many organizational changes to mention. One thing however has remained constant for nearly half of that time and that is Zema Williams.

Williams, better known as “Chief Zee” has been the Redskins Mascot for 34 years and has only missed two home games since 1978, one after the death of his father and the other when he escorted the wife of the late “Crazy Ray”, his Dallas Cowboys counterpart at a special ceremony honoring Ray at Texas Stadium.”
“Ray passed in 07.” Williams said. “We became really close friends over the years, off the field of course.”

Chief Zee enters Redskin Park
          photo by Moe Murphy
Williams gained national recognition in 1983 when at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Eagles fans attacked him outside the stadium breaking his leg and destroying his headdress and outfit.
“We were having fun, and 3 or 4 fans attacked me” Williams said. “You know Philadelphia is a poor sports town, in all sports, I haven’t been back since and I’ll leave it at that.”

In 2008 the Chief lost his beloved toy tomahawk at a game, and actually sat in the parking lot of FedEx Field hoping somebody would return it to him. It was later discovered to be in the possession of a fan and Redskins TE Chris Cooley exchanged an autographed jersey to get the prized prop back for the Chief.

Williams was hospitalized in 2011 with a cyst on his spine, but has not let up on his enthusiasm and his willingness to promote his passion, the Washington Redskins.
“In 34 years I’ve seen them come and go, come and go, but I feel good about this season, and I feel like it’s gonna make a difference.” said Williams.

The Chief was mobbed as he entered Fan Day in Ashburn, not once refusing to talk, pose with a photo or in my case do an interview.

Williams has had many honors over the years including Chief Zee Day in Washington, D.C...His biggest honor, no doubt came in 2000 when the Pro Football Hall of Fame and VISA named him the Washington Redskins All Time Biggest Fan, and honored him with a special display at Canton.

It’s too early to tell yet how the Redskins will fare this season, but one thing is for sure Chief Zee will do his part to get the Burgundy and Gold back into Glory.
Zema "Chief Zee" always a fan favorite.
                            photo by Moe Murphy

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