Former Canadian linebacker Ian Williams has passed away, according to TSN reporter Dave Naylor. He was 45 years old.
The Brampton, ON native was selected in the first round, second overall during the 2001 CFL Draft by the B.C. Lions. He miraculously overcame a brain tumour to play in the NCAA and pro football.
Williams was thoroughly tested by the B.C. medical staff when he arrived at training camp in June 2001; he even had a brain scan to confirm he was sufficiently recovered and not a medical risk.
“I’ve just got to play and show them I’m all right and that I don’t have any problems,” Williams told the Globe and Mail.
“He’s promising, he’s smart and mostly in the right place all the time,” defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry, who figured Williams needed extra time to learn about the CFL after missing an NCAA season, told the Globe and Mail. “There’s an added bonus in his special teams. He might be a star some day.”
Williams played seven games for the Lions in 2001 while recording two special teams tackles and returning one kick-off 27 yards. That was his lone season in the CFL.