Former first overall CFL draft pick Jordan Williams retires at 29

Photo: Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Canadian linebacker Jordan Williams, who was traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats earlier this off-season, has retired following three seasons in the CFL at the age of 29.

The six-foot, 232-pound defender was selected with the first overall pick in the 2020 CFL Draft by the B.C. Lions and was a day-one starter with the team, recording 181 defensive tackles, 12 special teams tackles, one sack, one interception, and three forced fumbles over two seasons with the team. He won the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie award in 2021, becoming the first Canadian defensive player to do so since Mike O’Shea in 1993.

Williams was traded to the Toronto Argonauts on Feb. 9, 2023 in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft. He made 14 starts at middle linebacker, recording 48 defensive tackles and four special teams tackles, but was traded to Hamilton on Jan. 29, 2024 in a deal that included eight draft picks and one negotiation list player.

The native of Fayetteville, N.C. qualified for Canadian status through his mother, who was born in Toronto. He made 251 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, five pass knockdowns, and one interception during his collegiate career at East Carolina University.

The Tiger-Cats opened rookie camp on Wednesday with their first preseason game scheduled for Saturday, May 25 against the Ottawa Redblacks at Tim Hortons Field.