Coming home: former Riders running back William Powell returning to Redblacks

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Ottawa Redblacks are adding another piece to their already much improved offence, as Saskatchewan Roughriders’ running back William Powell has announced his intention to return to the nation’s capital in CFL free agency with a video on Twitter.

The two sides reached an agreement during the CFL’s legal tampering window. Powell cannot sign a contract until free agency officially opens on February 8.

Powell spent the first three seasons of his career with the Ottawa Redblacks rushing for 2,835 yards and 13 touchdowns on 500 carries (5.7-yard-per-carry) while catching 90 balls for 719 yards and four majors. He was twice an East all-star and won a Grey Cup in 2016 as a member of the Redblacks.

In his first year in Saskatchewan in 2019, Powell had 215 carries for 1,093 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and 12 rushing touchdowns while adding 37 receptions for 296 yards and two majors. He ranked second in the league in rushing yards and tied for first in touchdowns.

The 34-year-old saw his production suffer significantly in 2021, rushing 168 times for 733 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 299 yards through the air. He posted a career-low 4.4 yards per carry, but the Redblacks believe he can return to form in a familiar environment.

Through his CFL career to date, Powell has had three 1,000-plus yard rushing seasons in five years. He’s played in 66 regular season games, registering 883 carries for 4,661 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns. The Duncanville, TX native has also caught 165 receptions for 1,314 yards and six touchdowns.