Gizmo is in da hall!

Henry 'Gizmo' Williams wipes away the tears at a press conference in the media room at Commonwealth...

Henry 'Gizmo' Williams wipes away the tears at a press conference in the media room at Commonwealth Stadium yesterday. (Edmonton Sun/Brendon Dlouhy)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

It was only a matter of time for Henry "Gizmo" Williams.

After setting several records during his spectacular 14-year Edmonton Eskimo career as a special-teams demon, the Giz was a lead-pipe cinch to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

And in his third year of eligibility for the Hall, Williams will receive his treasured spot among football's greatest players this summer in Hamilton.

"It is a great honour," said Williams.

"But it all goes down to my teammates. People always saw me running up and down the football field but you didn't see all those great blocks those guys made for me all the time."

But his teammates aren't taking any credit.

"He was the best return man the game has probably ever seen," said Malvin Hunter, who played with Gizmo for eight years.

"But what people miss about Giz is how hard he worked at his craft.

"He was constantly trying to get better and figure out ways to attack the opponent."

Although he barely measured five-foot-six, Williams had speed to burn and constantly whipped his opponents.

CFL RECORDS

The Memphis native returned 26 punts, three kickoffs and two missed field goals for touchdowns over 149 regular-season games between 1986-88 and 1990-2000 for the Green and Gold. (Williams spent 1989 in the NFL.)

Amazingly, he set more than 20 CFL records and still holds several marks: all-time punt returns (1,003) punt return yardage (11,177), kick returns (335) and kickoff return yardage (7,354) and most end-zone flips. "(His induction) is a no-brainer," said teammate Rod Connop. "He is one of those guys that rolls along once a generation in sports.

"There will be nobody else like him."

Connop still remembers the first time he saw Gizmo, almost 20 years ago.

"You knew he was something so special the very first practice I saw him," he recalled. "When you looked at Henry, you thought about what a weapon he could be."

Williams became so good the CFL created the designated-import rule to add a return specialist to every team.

The outstanding class of 2006 includes former Eskimo Matt Dunigan, Saskatchewan defensive stalwart Bobby Jurasin, Calgary receiver Allen Pitts and builder Victor Spencer.

"The most important thing is I am going with guys that I played against and played with," continued Williams.

"And I get a chance to (join) my coaches - Ron Lancaster and Jackie Parker."

SOMETHING DEARLY MISSING

But there will be something dearly missing when Williams officially accepts his honour.

"I think the hardest thing is that my mother and father aren't here to see all of this," he said before breaking down at yesterday's news conference at Commonwealth Stadium.

The official date of the ceremony will be confirmed when the CFL schedule is released in the next month.


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