American running back James Williams wants to use the CFL as a launchpad for a more permanent NFL return.
Williams signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in December after bouncing around the NFL during the 2019 season.
He inked an undrafted free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, but didn’t make it to training camp after being released last June. The Indianapolis Colts signed Williams for two days and Detroit brought him in for their final pre-season game, however, Williams was released among final cuts.
“I was supposed to go to the CFL and get some film from this year and go back to the NFL possibly right after the season,” James told CBS affiliate KLEW.
The COVID-19 pandemic has messed with Williams’ plans for pro stardom. At the earliest CFL games might be played in September, however, it’s uncertain when they could start and the league has yet to provide a blueprint for doing so.
“I was like oh my God. I don’t know how much time I can wait, cause that’s my job. I had to find different ways to make money and all that stuff,” Williams said.
“Just mentally and physically draining cause I’m training my butt off every single day and going crazy hard, it was just like I can’t get a break.”
During 39 games at Washington State University, Williams produced 2,997 yards from scrimmage and 27 total touchdowns. His best season came as a junior in 2018, rushing for 560 yards and 12 touchdowns with 83 catches for 613 yards and four more touchdowns.
If Williams wants to earn playing time in the Manitoba capital, he’ll have to prove capable of a roster spot behind hometown superstar Andrew Harris.