Lookin' for a football home

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

The collapse of the All-American Football League could really help the Edmonton Eskimos' secondary this season.

When the AAFL cancelled its inaugural season in March and moved it to 2009, that left Keith Williams dangling in the wind.

The import defensive back was supposed to be going to training camp with the Florida team in the small league but was suddenly out of work.

"I felt empty. My biggest question was: What is my next step from here?" recalled Williams.

That next step was actually a call to new Eskimos' defensive back coach Noel Thorpe, which opened the door to come to the CFL for a second time.

The pair met in the Montreal Alouettes' camp last year, when Williams was a late cut after two pre-season games.

"He gave me the opportunity to come up here (to Edmonton this spring)," said Williams on Thorpe. "And I am doing pretty good."

That is an understatement.

Williams has made a great first impression through seven days of training camp, making several interceptions and sticking his body in the danger zones - like stuffing a running back in yesterday's controlled scrimmage in Spruce Grove.

With Lenny Williams missing the entire first week with a knee injury and Stanford Samuels on the shelf with a shoulder problem, Keith Williams has been getting first-string reps at defensive halfback.

"He has had a very good camp," said Thorpe.

"He has got some great physical attributes - quick feet and great acceleration.

"He's also very stocky, sturdy.

"So, he can win at the line of scrimmage and if he gets beat off the line, he has got the ability to chase the receiver."

The 24-year-old Florida A&M product still has plenty of work ahead of him to secure a spot on the 42-man playing roster.

With Samuels, Jason Goss and Jordan Younger virtually guaranteed spots on the club for opening day on June 28, that means Williams will have to play better than Jonte Buhl or Lenny Williams - both veterans - in the pre-season to get a starting role in the secondary.

The first exhibition game is set for Friday in Calgary.


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