The scatback they call 'Blink' went out of his way to introduce himself to Toronto's NFL star yesterday.
"I'm in awe of the guy, you know what I'm saying?" said Winnipeg's Charles Roberts. "That's Ricky Williams. I was in college when he was rushing for over 2,000 yards in Texas. A couple of years ago when he was leading the league in rushing in the NFL, I was trying to rush like him. He's a great running back, I'm a great running back and we'll see that (tonight)."
The CFL's reigning rushing champ will try to outrun the Argos tailback when the Blue Bombers play Toronto at Canad Inns Stadium tonight.
"I'm not really anxious to out-shine him," Roberts said. "It will be good to out-rush him. I like to out-rush any running back that I go head-to-head with. With Ricky Williams, it would be a little extra, obviously, because of who he is."
Even Williams is curious to see what the 5-foot-6, 170-pound dynamo can do.
"I don't think the game is between Charles and myself," he said. "But from what I hear from all the guys, he's probably the best back in the league. It'll be fun for me to have a chance to watch him."
For his part, Williams does most of his talking on the field as he seems to have blinders on when facing media throngs.
"I don't feel like I'm really here to show anything, except that I can help the team win," said the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Californian who is on loan from Miami during his NFL drug suspension. "And the fact that we won (last week) meant that I did my job, so I was happy about that.
"It's not my job to be dominant. This is the ultimate team game, and for me to have any success, the whole team has to be dominant."
Williams, 29, declined to compare the CFL to the NFL and was taken aback when asked if he was enjoying himself in Canada.
"These enjoying questions, it's not my job to enjoy myself," he said. "It's my job to do my job. And when you do your job, then you find that you enjoy yourself. So, as much as I can stay focused and not enjoy myself, then the more I will enjoy myself."
Huh? Well, at least he doesn't have a swelled head.
"To ever be impressed with yourself means that you're an underachiever," Williams said. "If you just work hard, then success comes by itself."
Although Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons defined Williams as a consummate team player, he seemed perplexed about the personality of a player who once took an entire NFL season off just to gaze at his naval in a smoke-filled tent.
"We're beginning to understand who he is as a football player a little bit more," Clemons said. "We feel it's going to take a little bit longer than actually getting to know the person himself, though you could probably be around Ricky Williams for five years and never quite know him. He certainly is intriguing from that point."
But the Bombers are more interested in stopping him than knowing him.
"I'd still rather face Ricky than I would Charlie on any given Friday night," said Winnipeg defensive lineman Doug Brown. "So, I count blessings there. But at the same time, we definitely have our hands full with (Williams)."
"It's going to be a source of pride to stop any running back but his name speaks for itself," said Bombers defensive lineman Ron Warner, another ex-NFLer. "He's a great back and we've got to go out and do what we need to do to stop him."