Ex-Esk Gizmo OKs Charles's flip

Gizmo Williams, known for his front-flip celebrations during his playing days, says he doesn't mind...

Gizmo Williams, known for his front-flip celebrations during his playing days, says he doesn't mind if Hugh Charles brings in the back-flip touchdown celebration. (QMI Agency/Codie MacLachlan)

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:02 PM ET

EDMONTON - Don’t worry, Hugh Charles. No one is going to flip you off.

The Edmonton Eskimos running back is determined to bring the flip back to Commonwealth Stadium.

While Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams made his signature celebration with the move whenever he made it to the end zone, he’s not about to flip out over any trademark infringement.

“I’m not a back-flip guy, I’m a front-flip guy,” said the legendary returner, whose unmatched skills led to 31 touchdowns during his 16 seasons with the Eskimos.

And, more importantly, 31 flips — plus nearly that many again on ones called back by penalties.

“So he’s good. As long as he doesn’t do the front-flip, he’s OK,” Williams said, grinning. “But if he does the front-flip, I’ll break his damn leg.”

Not that Gizmo wasn’t able to do a back-flip. It just wasn’t his thing.

“No guys in the league do the front-flip, I’m the only one. Go back and see, they all do back-flips,” said the trailblazer. “When I started there weren’t any guys flipping. The next guy who did a flip was Lucius Floyd. He did a back-flip, but he’d always do a cartwheel before he did it.”

As for offering any advice to Charles on perfecting the move, Williams said, “No, he’s fine. Just get over. Don’t stop in mid-air.”

Fortunately for Charles, he specializes in the back-flip, a move he put on display after scoring a preseason touchdown against the Eskimos in Regina last year. And one he was reminded of after being traded to Edmonton as the Eskimos made the push into playoffs.

“I will be doing the back-flip out here whenever I get in the end zone, so people can either come up with a nickname or just appreciate it like the fans in Saskatchewan did,” said Charles, who is chasing down the No. 1 spot in training camp. “It’s just a celebration. Everybody has their moment and that’s mine. That’s what I’m known for around the league.”

As Williams still is. Although he is 50 now and has to warm up a bit before doing one, he is in phenomenal shape for anyone half his age.

And Williams has already done a non-signature back-flip fooling around with the players as a guest coach at Eskimos training camp.

“He can still do it,” Charles said. “But I think it’s time for someone else to try something new and a little acrobatic.

“That’s what I’m here to do: get touchdowns and make big plays and be a leader on this team.”

COME TOGETHER: Wednesday’s in-pool training session marked a turning point for the Eskimos.

“They’re starting to have fun together, and that’s the thing,” Reed said. “Training camp is so intense and competitive, when they start to have fun you start to see them come together as a team and I’m starting to see it.

“The veteran guys are getting a little bit smarter and starting to understand my idiosyncrasies.”

NOTES: J.C. Sherritt got sandwiched between LB T.J. Hill and SB Adarius Bowman before being tended to by team physicians on the sidelines … QB Brandon Summers gave his No. 20 to DB Denatay Heard in exchange for No. 13, which belonged to ex-Eskimos QB Eric Ward at the beginning of camp … The Eskimos will be back at it Friday, but will shed the pads for the afternoon session to concentrate on the skill side of things in advance of Saturday’s Green and Gold scrimmage as part of fan-appreciation day at Clarke Park.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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