The CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Special Teams Player has re-upped with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Frankie Williams has re-signed with the Ticats for the 2021 season, forgoing free agency that is set to open on February 9.
The native of Tampa, Fla. went unselected in the 2016 NFL Draft, but signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent. Williams was on and off the active roster for the entire 2016 season, suiting up for three games and registering a tackle in Indianapolis’ 31-26 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 9.
He was let go by the Colts in the spring of 2017 and spent the year out of football before the Ticats signed him in February 2018. Williams came to the CFL like many American rookies — anonymous and with little fanfare.
The five-foot-nine, 190-pounder was announced as part of a batch of signings Hamilton made that winter, not dissimilar to how most American players are brought to the league.
In his first season with the Tabbies, Williams had modest production as the team’s starting field corner, totaling 17 defensive tackles. He played a role on special teams, making ten tackles, returning 40 punts for 383 yards and a touchdown as well as 18 kickoffs for 407 yards.
It was a successful, if unspectacular first year, but it was just the appetizer for what was to come in 2019.
Williams started hot to begin his sophomore campaign, returning a punt for a touchdown in the Ticats’ 23-17 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 1. Williams would continue to make big plays in the return game, finishing the season with a league-leading 949 punt return yards.
His 24.9 yards-per-kick-return average was second-best among players with at least 20 returns. He was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
But the return game the only area of the game in which Williams made an impact. He also started 17 games at field-side corner, ending the season with 50 defensive tackles, a somewhat rare feat for a position that sees little action in the Canadian game.