American Football Database
American Football Database
Bill Romanowski
refer to caption
Romanowski in December 2006
No. 53
Personal information
Born: (1966-04-02) April 2, 1966 (age 55)
Rockville, Connecticut
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school:Vernon (CT) Rockville
College:Boston College
NFL Draft:1988 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80
Career history
* San Francisco 49ers (19881993)
Career highlights and awards
* 4× Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXXII, XXXIII)
Career NFL statistics
Forced fumbles:16
Player stats at

William Thomas Romanowski (born April 2, 1966) is a former American football linebacker. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, and Oakland Raiders.

Early life and education

Romanowski was born in Vernon, Connecticut. He graduated from Rockville High School in 1984 and Boston College in 1988 with academic honors, and was a Scanlan Award recipient.

NFL career

Romanowski went on to a 16-year career in the NFL, playing for the San Francisco 49ers (1988–1993), Philadelphia Eagles (1994–1995), Denver Broncos (1996–2001), and Oakland Raiders (2002–2003). After his career, he was listed by ESPN as the fifth dirtiest player in professional team sports history.[1]

Romanowski played 243 consecutive games during the 1988-2003 seasons,[2] an NFL record that stood until Chris Gardocki broke it during the 2006 season, finishing his career with 265, (256 reg. season and 9 playoff games). He won 4 Super Bowl Championships, and played 5 Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXIII, Super Bowl XXIV, Super Bowl XXXII, Super Bowl XXXIII and Super Bowl XXXVII).

During his 16-year career, Romanowski compiled 1,105 tackles, 39.5 sacks, 18 forced fumbles, and 18 interceptions, which he returned for a net total of 98 yards and 1 career touchdown. Romanowski was a Pro Bowl selection twice, in 1996 and 1998, both during his tenure with the Denver Broncos.


Romanowski was involved in numerous altercations with both teammates and opponents. In 1995, while with the Eagles, he was ejected from a game — and subsequently fined $4,500 — for kicking Arizona Cardinals fullback Larry Centers in the head.[3]

Two more incidents occurred during the 1997 season while he played for the Broncos. In the first, he was fined $20,000 after a helmet-to-helmet hit on then-Carolina Panthers quarterback Kerry Collins in a preseason game resulting in Collins sustaining a broken jaw.[1]

In the second incident, Romanowski spat in the face of 49ers wide receiver J. J. Stokes in a regular-season game played in December on a Monday night in response to Stokes' taunting.[4]

Two years later, while still with the Broncos, he was fined a total of $42,500 for three illegal hits plus a punch thrown at Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, and was also fined an undisclosed amount for throwing a football at Bryan Cox of the New York Jets, the ball hitting him in the crotch area.[5]

Marcus Williams incident

In 2003, Romanowski attacked and injured one of his teammates, Marcus Williams, during a scrimmage. Williams, a backup tight end for the Oakland Raiders, was forced to retire after Romanowski confronted Williams after a play, ripped off his helmet, and crushed his eye socket with a punch.[6]

Williams sued for damages of $3.4 million, arguing that Romanowski had been suffering from "roid rage" when he attacked him. Williams was awarded $340,000 for lost wages and medical expenses by a jury.[7] Williams was quoted as saying he and his lawyers "just wanted to prove what was right and wrong about football".[8] Williams's attorney said he was very pleased with the verdict.[7]

Racism allegations

Romanowski has been accused of being racist at many points during his career and after retirement. Various media critics have pointed to his fines for actions including kicking Larry Centers in the head in 1995, spitting on San Francisco 49er receiver J.J. Stokes in 1997, and ripping Eddie George's helmet off in 2002, as evidence.[9][10][11]

Romanowski called Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Cam Newton "boy" in a tweet after Newton's team lost in Super Bowl 50 and Newton conducted a very brief press interview.[12] He later apologized after he was accused of being racist.[12][13]

Post-NFL career

Romanowski co-authored an autobiography in 2005 titled Romo My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons. The book became a New York Times best-selling book in 2005.[14] It chronicles his childhood, college career, NFL career, living with post-concussion symptoms, nutrition, and recovery techniques used during his NFL playing career.

He was featured on the cover of the Midway Games title Blitz: The League and adds his voice as Bruno Battaglia, a linebacker in the game who wears his 53. He also appears in NCAA Football Series indirectly as LB #53 for the 1984 Boston College Eagles.

In 2006, he founded Nutrition 53, a nutritional supplement company. He was also a minority owner of NASCAR's Swan Racing in 2013; his company Nutrition53 sponsored the team in 10 races that year.[15]


In 2008, Romanowski was the defensive coordinator for the Piedmont High School (California) Highlanders Freshman Football team, where his son played.

In January 2009, Romanowski threw his name into the search for Mike Shanahan's replacement as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Romanowski sent a 30-page PowerPoint presentation to team owner Pat Bowlen, but was not considered for the job.[16] The job was ultimately given to Josh McDaniels.[16]

BALCO Scandal

Romanowski and his wife were investigated for prescription drug fraud, though the charges were later dropped.[17] Records seized by the government belonging to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, later discovered to be the source of a designer steroid, indicate that he had used the anabolic steroid "The Clear" and synthetic testosterone ointment "The Cream" provided by BALCO since 2003. Romanowski admitted to staying a step ahead of NFL drug testing policies.[18] In an October 16, 2005 appearance on 60 Minutes, Romanowski admitted to using steroids and human growth hormone that he received from Victor Conte, BALCO owner.[19]

In media

Year Title Role Notes
2005 The Longest Yard Guard Lambert
Shooting Gallery Case
2006 The Benchwarmers Kurt
2008 Wieners Cowboy
Get Smart Federal Air Marshall
Bedtime Stories Biker
2011 Jack and Jill Himself
2014 Blended Baseball Fan


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Dirtiest professional team players".
  2. "The Redskins Blog | Romanowski: Fletcher Deserves Record".
  3. "Romanowski Hits A Nerve".
  4. "Bill Romanowski: golden boy of NFL or common ruffian?".
  5. "Why all the Bill Romanowski Love?". SFist. Archived from the original on May 22, 2007.
  6. Injured ex-Raider raises issue of ' 'roid rage'
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Williams awarded $340K in Romanowski trial".
  9. "Romanowski rages at racist allegations". The Spokesman-Review.,5774562&hl=en. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  10. "Ugly Plays: Most Racist Moments in Sports". Black Entertainment Television LLC.!042814-sports-comments-racist-Bill-Romanowski. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  11. Mossman, John (August 17, 2000). "Romanowski: 'SI article absolute lie'". Moscow-Pulman Daily News. Associated Press.,1940863&hl=en. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 King, Shaun. "King: Bill Romanowski was blatantly racist even before he called Cam Newton ‘boy’ in post-Super Bowl tweet". Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  13. Newton, David. "Cam Newton showing heartache after Super Bowl loss isn't necessarily a bad thing". ESPN. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  14. "Adam Schefter - ESPN MediaZone" (in en-US).
  15. "Former NFL LB Romanowski joins Swan Racing". NASCAR. January 31, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Broncos not planning to meet with Romanowski".
  17. " - CBSi".
  18. "Clayton: Staying in the game".
  19. "BALCO investigation timeline -".

External links