Williams' journey no snap

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

Every year, CFL training camps are filled with receivers from south of the border who come loaded with credentials.

All seem to have gaudy college numbers. Some boast pro experience.

A few even come to Canada with NFL success.

Then there is Reggie Williams. The Calgary Stampeders hopeful appears to have dropped out of the sky.

Try scouring the Internet to find out about him -- and remember, we're not talking about the Jacksonville Jaguars receiver of the same name and birth year.

"You won't find anything on me," Williams said after yet another rain-soaked practice yesterday at McMahon Stadium. "I'm a ghost."

An intriguing ghost who is finally receiving an opportunity he had to wait years for.

After high school, Williams was recruited by Louisiana State University, but he had to remain home in Lake Charles, La., to help his mother. So, the 6-ft.-3, 202-lb. pass catcher, who'll turn 25 next month, never played college football.

He kept at the sport, trying his hand at the Arena2 level and playing semi-pro, eventually getting a look from Stampeders defensive co-ordinator and assistant director of player personnel Chris Jones, which turned into an invite to the team's free-agent camp in Orlando.

There, he impressed enough to earn a contract for training camp. It's an opportunity Williams is relishing, having now recovered from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for much of the first week.

"I was always working toward this. It was my dream to play football," he said.

"That's what I love to do. I never gave up. It's just persevering and going through whatever adversity comes."

The adversity doesn't end at his teens, either. Lake Charles was damaged extensively when Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf Coast in September 2005. He was displaced and everything he owned was destroyed.

"Wiped out. No more home. No more car. Everything was gone," he said. "When you battle through things like that, you appreciate things more. You never take things for granted because it can be taken away just as fast."

Now, with all those issues in the past, Williams is finally able to concentrate on his football dreams. Surprisingly, he arrived in Calgary schooled in the CFL game -- and not because he was a fan of the long-defunct Shreveport Pirates during the CFL's foray into the U.S.

"In Lake Charles, they play a lot of CFL games on TV because Kerry Joseph -- he's a friend of my brother -- went to McNeese State in Lake Charles," he said.

"It's been good to watch him play, and I watched CFL so I was familiar."

Still, it's been a big eye opener adjusting to the large CFL field.

"Sometimes when coach Hufnagel has me run a reverse, I'm thinking the sideline is coming," he said. "But it never comes."


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