Duke Williams has first practice as a Roughrider
Wide receiver Duke Williams joined his new team on the field for the first time on Tuesday.
The wide receiver isn’t a stranger to the CFL, but he is new to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ roster, coming off of three seasons with the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills.
Before heading south of the border, he played with Edmonton from 2017 to 2019.
Williams said after practice it will only take him a couple of days to get back in to the rhythm of Canadian football.
“That was the main thing today, is I’ve got to slow the game down in my head,” said Williams. “I wasn’t moving too fast today and I’m going to watch film and learn from my mistakes I made today and make sure I correct that tomorrow for practice.”
Quarterback Cody Fajardo said Williams’ veteran status brings an expertise to the team.
“You can tell when he’s talking to guys about routes, waggles, and he’s very acceptable to criticism or coaching, which is really big when you get a big time receiver or a guy with the resume he’s got,” Fajardo said.
Named a CFL All Star while with Edmonton, Williams said he is ready to do what he does best, which is getting open and catching the football.
“Whatever they’re slacking in I’m here to pick that up and do my part and make plays whenever the ball comes my way and take it one play at a time,” said Williams.
“We’ve been on a three game losing streak and we’re looking to turn that around against Calgary on Saturday night.”
At his first practice as a Rider, Williams was running plays alongside Shaq Evans, who is recovering from a broken foot suffered in Week 2.
Evans said Williams is a proven player in the league who is coming back from the NFL hungry and ready to contribute.
“He definitely brings another big play element to our offence, he’s a guy that brings great energy, he’s intense and I love his game,” said Evans, a fellow wide receiver.
Head coach Craig Dickenson said the team is hopeful both the receivers will be ready to play this weekend against the Stampeders.
He called Williams tough, physical and committed to his craft.
“We signed him for a reason. We think he’s a good football player and can help us win games and we’re planning on putting him out there and letting him do his thing,” said Dickenson.