Tyrone Williams (wide receiver)

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Tyrone Williams
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1970-03-26) March 26, 1970 (age 46)
Place of birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 207 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school: George Harvey (ON) / Queen Elizabeth (NS)
College: Western Ontario
NFL draft: 1992 / Round: 9 / Pick: 239
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 1
Receiving yards: 25
Receiving TDs: 0
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Tyrone Williams (born March 26, 1970) is a former gridiron football player. He is the first player to win a Vanier Cup championship in Canadian university football, a Super Bowl championship (2 Super Bowl Championships - 1992 & 1993) in the National Football League and a Grey Cup championship in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

University of Western Ontario[edit]

Williams was recruited by University of Western Ontario (now Western University) football coach Larry Haylor in 1988 from Halifax's Queen Elizabeth High School (Halifax, Nova Scotia), where he excelled at football, soccer and basketball.[1] He made an immediate impact in his freshman season with the Mustangs, setting a team receiving record for most yards per catch with 21.9, and was named an Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) second-team all-star.

Williams was named an OUAA all-star again in 1989, a season in which the Mustangs won their fifth Vanier Cup title. Williams caught five passes for 157 yards and a touchdown to earn the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as the game's most outstanding player as Western beat the Saskatchewan Huskies 35-10 to win the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) football championship.[2] Williams earned All-Canadian honours in 1990 and again 1991, and graduated Western with a degree in economics, and school records for most receptions and most yards receiving. Those records stood for nearly two decades until they were surpassed by future CFL star Andy Fantuz.

Williams' accomplishments in Canada caught the attention of American scouts, and after his final season at Western ended, he received an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. Not only was Williams the first Canadian university player to earn an invitation to the NCAA's annual showcase for graduating US college football players, he also caught a 36-yard touchdown pass in a 13-10 AFC victory, the game's only offensive touchdown. Earning him the AT&T Long Distance Play of the Game for the longest play of the game.[3]

National Football League[edit]

Williams was selected by the Calgary Stampeders seventh overall in the first round of the CFL draft in February 1992, but decided to wait for the NFL draft in April before deciding on his professional future.

Williams was selected by the Phoenix Cardinals in the ninth round selection (239th overall) of the 1992 NFL draft. He became the first CIAU player selected in the NFL draft since the Los Angeles Rams selected offensive lineman Mike Schad of the Queen's University Golden Gaels in the first round (23rd overall) in 1986.[4] Not since University of Toronto Varsity Blues quarterback Dan Feraday, who was selected in the 12th round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982, had a skill-position player from a Canadian university been taken by an NFL team.

Williams was not the first Western graduate to go to the NFL. Future Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee Joe Krol played two games with the Detroit Lions in 1945, and offensive guard Dave Sparenberg played one game for the Cleveland Browns as a replacement player during the National Football League Players Association strike in 1987. Nor was Williams the first Mustang to be drafted by the NFL. Linebacker John Priestner was an 11th round pick (280th overall) of the Baltimore Colts in 1979. Priestner did not play in any regular season games with the Colts and returned to Canada to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Williams' NFL career did not start off smoothly. In 1992, he missed the first two weeks of the Cardinals training camp because his work visa did not arrive, and after falling behind the competition, he was waived on September 1.[5] After his release, Williams was picked up the next day by the Dallas Cowboys, where he remained on the team's practice squad. During the 1992 season he never dressed for a regular season or playoff game but earned his 1st Super Bowl ring watching from the sidelines as the Cowboys crushed the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.

The on-field high point of Williams' time with Dallas came on August 8, 1993, when he hooked up with quarterback Jason Garrett for 5 catches and 157 yards, including a game-tying 53 yard touchdown pass in the Cowboys' 13-13 tie with the Detroit Lions in a preseason game at Wembley Stadium in London, England.[6] He dressed for 9 games during the Cowboys' 1993 regular season, and played in 5 games catching one pass for 25 yards. The Cowboys earned a berth in Super Bowl XXVIII, but Williams was relegated to the inactive list when the team decided to dress an extra running back. He did not play in the game, but earned a second Super Bowl ring as the Cowboys defeated the Bills 30-13 to win their second consecutive NFL championship.

On July 11, 1994, Williams parted with the Cowboys,[7] and was claimed by the Chicago Bears on July 12,[8] but he was released during the team's final cuts.

After sitting out the 1994 season, Williams was invited to the Buffalo Bills training camp on January 26, 1995.[9] He was released on August 26,[10] and decided to look for new opportunities back in Canada.

Canadian Football League[edit]

After leaving Buffalo's training camp in 1995, which finished midway through the CFL season, he signed with the Calgary Stampeders, which still retained his negotiation rights from the 1992 CFL draft. He joined former Mustangs teammate Dave Sapunjis in the Stampeders receiving corps, registering six passes for 81 yards and one touchdown in seven games. The team nearly won the CFL's championship in his first year in the league, catching one pass for 13 yards in Calgary's 37-20 loss to the Baltimore Stallions in the 83rd Grey Cup.

On May 23, 1996 Williams was acquired by the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for the negotiation rights to quarterback Dave Dickenson. Williams enjoyed his finest professional season in 1996, playing a full schedule and catching passes for almost 900 yards. Led by quarterback Doug Flutie, the Argonauts cruised to a 15-3 record and won the 84th Grey Cup over the Edmonton Eskimos 43-37. With the victory, Williams became the first player to win the Vanier Cup, the Super Bowl and the Grey Cup.

Retirement[edit]

On March 11, 1997, the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League signed Williams to a two-year contract as a free agent.[11] He chose to retire in May of that year and was released on May 12.[12] Retiring from pro football at the age of 27, he never gave an official explanation for his decision.

Career statistics[edit]

     
Season Team League GP REC YDS AVG TD
1988 Western Ontario OUAA X 27 592 21.9 2
1989 Western Ontario OUAA X 27 550 20.4 2
1990 Western Ontario OUAA X 27 504 18.7 4
1991 Western Ontario OUAA X 21 432 20.6 1
1992 Phoenix Cardinals NFL
1992 Dallas Cowboys NFL
1993 Dallas Cowboys NFL 5 1 25 25.0 0
1994 Chicago Bears NFL
1995 Buffalo Bills NFL
1995 Calgary Stampeders CFL 7 6 81 13.5 1
1996 Toronto Argonauts CFL 18 60 895 14.9 8
1997 Miami Dolphins NFL
OUAA totals X 102 2078 20.4 9
NFL totals 5 1 25 25.0 0
CFL totals 25 66 976 14.8 9

Personal life[edit]

In recognition of his accomplishments as an amateur and professional athlete, Williams was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[13]

He is now a substitute teacher in the Halifax Regional School Board.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "JP Metras Sports Museum Profile". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ "1989 Western Mustangs Vanier Cup Champions Video". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ "COLLEGE FOOTBALL SENIOR BOWL : Weather Is Miserable, and So Is the Game". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Big, Strong and Fast, Mike Schad Quickly Had Rams' Attention". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "A History Of American Football At Wembley". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Dolphins Release CB A.J. Johnson, WR Tyrone Williams". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Dolphins Release CB A.J. Johnson, WR Tyrone Williams". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]