Jordan Williams-Lambert looking to reintroduce himself to CFL with Riders after being cut in the NFL

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert wants to reintroduce himself to the CFL.

Williams-Lambert returned to the Riders in September 2019, but didn’t find his form from the previous season when he was named the West Division Most Outstanding Rookie. The six-foot-three, 228-pound pass catcher had 62 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 compared to five catches for 57 yards the last time CFL football was played.

“When he came back last season after being in the NFL, he was disappointed he didn’t stick in the NFL. We got a guy that was still a good football player, but he was just hurt by not getting a chance and probably didn’t get a fair shot to stick,” head coach Craig Dickenson said.

Williams-Lambert obtained an NFL option window as a settlement of a grievance filed under the collective bargaining agreement. Saskatchewan and the CFL Players’ Association agreed that Williams-Lambert was eligible to workout for NFL teams, including the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New York Giants and New England Patriots. That tour led to a contract from the Bears, but he was let go among the final training camp cuts in the Windy City.

“Coming back in 2019, I had to join a team that was already together and had their success. You don’t want to be the guy to mess up the flow of things, they were in a really good flow that year and the offence was top of the league. They had a lot of vets contributing at a very high level, it forced me to take the back burner role, watch and learn,” Williams-Lambert said.

The 27-year-old has put the knowledge to use at Riders training camp. Until he suffered a cut to his hand, which required a handful of stitches to close, he had been a standout on offence in the new scheme being installed by offensive coordinator Jason Maas. Williams-Lambert was pushed into the end zone wall and cut his hand open on the scoreboard, it has since been covered up to prevent other potential injuries.

“It was frustrating and uncontrollable. It forces you to have to find a way to stay up to speed with the play calls and conditioning. It was frustrating for me given all the work that I put in this off-season,” Williams-Lambert said.

To prepare for the first CFL training camp since his first season in Canada, Williams-Lambert got together with quarterback Cody Fajardo in the off-season to improve the rapport with the franchise man. Since coming to Regina for camp, the Chicago native has been carefully following the COVID-19 protocols and adjusting to the new offensive coaching staff while impressing at Mosaic Stadium.

“He looks a lot like the guy we saw the year before that was a rookie of the year — he’s catching the ball well, he’s running well,” Dickenson said.

“We’re getting a guy with a renewed attitude and enthusiasm for the game with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he should be playing on Sunday’s. We hope we get the best Jordan Williams-Lambert, if we get what he’s capable of, he’s going to make a difference.”