Gizmo Williams

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Gizmo Williams
Date of birth: (1962-05-31) May 31, 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth: Memphis, Tennessee
Career information
Status: Retired
CFL status: International
Position(s): WR/PR/KR
Height: 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
College: East Carolina
Organizations
As player:
1985
1986
1986-1988
1989
1990-2000
Memphis Showboats (USFL)
Calgary Stampeders* (CFL)
Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)
Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star: 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
CFL West All-Star: 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997
Honors: 2002 - Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Honour
Records:

Eskimos Records

  • Most Kickoff Returns – Career (335)
  • Most Kickoff Return Yards – Career (7,354)
  • Most Kickoff Returns – Game (8) - September 5, 1994
  • Most Punt Returns – Career (1,003)
  • Most Punt Returns – Game (12) - August 12, 1988
  • Most Punt Return Yards – Career (11,177)
  • Most Punt Return Yards – Season (1,440) - 1991
  • Most Punt Return Yards – Game (232) - July 17, 1991
  • Most Punt Return Touchdowns – Career (26)
  • Most Punt Return Touchdowns – Season (5)
  • Most Punt Return Touchdowns – Game (2) - 3 times
Career stats
Playing stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Henry L. "Gizmo" Williams (born May 31, 1962, in Memphis, Tennessee) is a retired American and Canadian football kick returner and wide receiver. After his retirement at the end of the 2000 CFL season, Williams worked as a motivational speaker.

Born into an impoverished family, Williams was raised by his brother Edgar after the death of both his parents as a child, and, after Edgar's death, by an aunt. Despite his background, Williams was able to be a successful high school football player, and was able to enroll at East Carolina University. After graduating from East Carolina, Williams was signed by the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League. While playing in Memphis, future Professional Football Hall of Famer Reggie White gave the shifty Williams the nickname "Gizmo", which would stick with him through his professional career.

Williams was released by the Showboats after one season in the USFL in 1985, and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. With the exception of a half-season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989, Williams would play with the Eskimos for every CFL season from 1986 to 2000.

Standing a diminutive 5′6″, Williams was in many ways a prototypical Canadian football kick returner. He saw some success as a receiver, breaking 900 yards receiving on two occasions, but was best known for his work as a returner. Williams soon developed a trademark of doing a flip in the air after every score, which quickly became associated with Williams in the eyes of the fans. During his career with the Eskimos, Williams set more than 20 CFL records, and as of 2006 is still the league's all-time leader in both punt and kickoff return yardage, and holds the record for most kick return touchdowns with 31 (26 on punt returns, two on kickoff returns and three on missed field goal returns). Perhaps his most memorable was a 115 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown in the 1987 Grey Cup.

In 2002, Williams's #2 was put on the Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Honour. Four years later, Williams was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame with a class that included former teammate and quarterback Matt Dunigan.[1] In November 2006 he was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (#25) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network The Sports Network/TSN.

Williams has a family history of multiple sclerosis, which killed his mother in December 1969 when Williams was six, as well as seven of his ten siblings. Williams's father died in a house fire at Christmas of 1970.

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