Listen to Austin 360 Radio

'Thank you for curling up and cuddling with us': Ricky Williams, Brian Bosworth chat at ACL

By Ramon Ramirez
Special to the American-Statesman
Ricky Williams, left, and Brian Bosworth chat on Austin City Limits Music Festival's Bonus Tracks Stage on Oct. 8, 2021.

On the eve of Red River Rivalry weekend, two former greats from the rival schools joined forces at Austin City Limits Music Festival’s Bonus Tracks Stage to relive the glory days — and talk about what it’s like to be sensitive men asked to play violent sports. 

That’d be ‘80s Oklahoma Sooners linebacker turned action movie actor Brian “The Boz” Bosworth and Texas Longhorn legend Ricky Williams, the ‘98 Heisman trophy-winner for whom the dang field at Royal-Memorial Stadium is named after. Williams, 44, and Bosworth, 56, were mercurial and outspoken players who didn’t reach their potential in the NFL and are best remembered as college football icons. Here, Williams wore a “Love Wins” hat and talked astrology. 

Austin360 listened in on their surprisingly touching panel. Here are 3 things we learned. 

1. On astrology

Williams is really into it. “I’m a Gemini, a Cancer moon and a Virgo rising. … I know that sounds like gibberish.” He has a podcast, “Curious Questions,” and he said it involved asking guests for their birth certificates to do their astrology chart and read it back to them. Bosworth is a Pisces, and Williams says they’re the most sensitive signs. He says they have to “learn to let go.”

ACL Eats:The best things Austin City Lunch Bunch ate at ACL Fest

It can be a problem for football players: “Someone is a Pisces but they’re born into a certain city or certain culture,” Williams said of people like Bosworth, adding that it makes it hard to express themselves so they “take on other peoples’ stuff.”

He said he was a defensive player growing up and looked up to Bosworth: “I grew up looking up to you as the model of masculinity.” 

2. 'Life got better' after leaving the NFL

On leaving the NFL: Williams, a surprisingly good therapist, later talked about the relief he felt when he quit the NFL after failing a drug test. “Life got better,” Williams said. 

He said he connected with Bosworth on this point and notion of evolving by asking himself: “What’s life really about?”

Bosworth said he found personal salvation and meaning in Christianity. Williams also got him to open up and relay that so much of his post-football problems were tracked to “Screaming for some acceptance from my father.”

More:'Our generation will not be dragged backwards': ACL Fest artists protest Texas abortion law

3. If only ACL existed then

On ACL: Williams joked he didn’t attend ACL in college “because we were always busy beating the Sooners.” But not so fast: While it’s true Williams went 2-1-1 against Oklahoma from 1995 to 98, he was a Miami Dolphin in 2002 — ACL Fest’s maiden year.

Williams closed the ACL chat, in which he mostly played host, thusly: “Thank you for curling up and cuddling with us.”