EDMONTON - He may share last name with Henry “Gizmo” Williams, but Chris Williams hasn’t quite earned earned the nickname “Chris-mo” just yet.
The legendary Edmonton Eskimos all-star-returning Williams saw his single-season record of five kick-return touchdowns — which he shared with Keith Stokes and Bashir Levingston — eclipsed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiving Williams halfway through the 2012 season.
“Chris-mo?” Gizmo laughed, recalling another player who went by the name of Tris-mo. “That’s what they were doing when Tristan Jackson was here, they were calling him the same thing.”
While having a red-hot season at returning is one thing, doing it consistently over the course of a 16-year, Hall-of-Fame career is something else, altogether.
“I did it three times in my career, though,” Gizmo said, of scoring five kick-return touchdowns in a season. “And I had 10 called back in one season. And I got 28 called back the whole time. And I’ve got 26 in the record book, so I hope everybody realizes that he’s doing a great job, but he still ain’t in my league yet, I don’t think.”
But as far as current players are concerned, Chris-mo is in a league of his own. And not just in the return game, either. He is second overall in combined yards and third among CFL receivers.
“He’s done a really good job for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats,” Gizmo said. “He doesn’t take a lot of time going across the field a lot and he’s taking a hole when he sees it. Once he hits that hole, he ain’t worried about nobody catching him.”
While many are drawing comparisons between the two, Gizmo points to one notable difference — aside from the lack of a front flip in the end zone.
“He’s a different runner,” Gizmo said. “He more waits for the hole and I used to like to hit the hole a lot of times. For me, I just liked to catch it and make a hole.
“In the sense where once he gets into open field, we’re the same. People don’t realize how a return guy makes a big difference in the CFL. It’s like an offensive weapon.”
So, the Eskimos may have themselves an in-house answer for the question: How do you stop it?
“Really, you don’t just shut him down,” Gizmo said, adding special teams needs to play especially as a team. “You just make sure everybody covers and tackles.
“He’s probably going to get his yards, no matter what, but everybody’s got to be there at the same time
GLASS HALF FULLBACK: The Eskimos traded import DB Ricardo Colclough and a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft to the Ticats for non-import FB Darcy Brown.
The four-year CFL veteran and native of Ontario will help fill a void at the fullback spot that has been ravaged by injury this season.
“It’s a position of need and also it doesn’t hurt that he’s Canadian,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “I think that this football team got what it needed in terms of the long-term injuries to Calvin McCarty and Mathieu Bertrand.”
IN AND OUT: McCarty (ankle) will miss Friday’s game, with FB Peter Thiel (hamstring) coming in off the one-game injured list to take his place. DE Julius Williams (lower body) will also miss Friday, along with DE Marcus Howard (hamstring).