‘He gritted through another one’: Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo gives ‘praise’ to receiver Duke Williams despite goose eggs in Week 4

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Duke Williams planned to put on a “show” against the Montreal Alouettes in Week 4, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver was hit with an injury in the second quarter and did not catch any of the five passes that came his way from quarterback Cody Fajardo.

However, despite zeros across the board on the statistics sheet, Fajardo made sure to give the six-foot-three, 225-pound target a “shout-out” for his contribution to the team’s 41-20 win. 

“Duke deserves a lot of praise and a huge shout-out because he didn’t have one catch, but if you put on the tape, what he did for the receivers blocking on the perimeter, that’s why he’s one of the top receivers in this league because of what he does,” said Fajardo. 

Williams has sited up as a starting receiver in three of the Riders’ four games this season and has made nine receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown. 

The Los Angeles native missed Saskatchewan’s Week 2 game against the Edmonton Elks with an ankle injury, so there was uncertainty if the 29-year-old was experiencing another physical setback in Saturday’s game. 

Williams jumped up in the air for the football under Alouettes coverage and landed hard on the field with the pass falling incomplete. He did not get up on his own and was assisted to the locker room by the Riders’ medical staff. There was a question mark whether he would return to the game.

During the Riders’ Week 3 game, Shaq Evans, the team’s other star receiver, left the game and did not return. He later learned he had a fractured ankle which will keep him sidelined for six-to-eight weeks. But to Fajardo’s relief, Williams returned for the second half of the game. 

“He gritted through another one. I walked into halftime and saw him with some ice on his hip and was nervous that here we go again, we lost another one of our top receivers,” said Fajardo. “He came out after halftime and got the crowd involved. It definitely excited our offence and it’s always good to see one of your best players out there with you.”

After the Riders Week 4 win, head coach Craig Dickenson did not have an update on Williams’ injury, but noted that it was positive he was able to finish the game.