Volume 93, Issue 20
October 1, 1999
Williams multi-league champ
Gazette file photo
By Wes Brown
Two National Football League Super Bowl rings, one Canadian Football League Grey Cup and a Vanier Cup.
Tyrone Williams has played and won at every level of football in which he has competed. During his years at Western from 1988 to 1992, former football coach Larry Haylor said he knew Williams was special from the day of his first practice.
"Tyrone started every game he ever played here. His talents were remarkable. In a game, we always went to Ty in the big moments. He was like our own nuclear weapon," Haylor said.
Looking back, Williams said he has had a lot of good days in the J.W. Little Memorial Stadium. However, the 1989 Vanier Cup stood out as his greatest university moment.
"How else can you top that kind of experience? I mean, I had a few other great games, personal bests, but nothing will beat that game," he said.
Williams' career really took off in 1992 when he was the selected to be the first Canadian ever to play for the Senior Bowl, an American college all-star game. "At the Senior Bowl, each side is coached by NFL coaches. In my year, we were coached by Los Angeles Raiders' head coach Art Shell and the rest of the Raiders' staff. The Senior Bowl definitely helped put me on the map in the [United] States," he said.
Haylor remembered he and some other players watched Williams play in the Senior Bowl. "Everyone was watching. It was pouring rain during the game and this one play, Ty beat the corner and ran it in for the touchdown. For about 15 minutes after, we were all running around the place cheering like crazy," he said.
Combining speed and size, Williams was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1992 but was released soon after and later picked up by Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys.
"Jimmy really likes big receivers and at six-feet, five-inches, that's probably why he took me," Williams said about going to the Dallas Cowboys. "It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. It was pretty intense at times, but it was a more relaxed atmosphere compared to working at a regular job."
Although being a member of two Super Bowl winning teams was very exciting, Williams said neither he nor his teammates really knew what to expect during the first championship run.
"I don't think anyone thought we were going to win the Super Bowl. There was no swagger back then, just hard work and effort towards getting there. The second time around you could say the swagger was there," Williams said.
After two years in Dallas, instead of head office cutting his salary, Williams was released and picked up by the Chicago Bears in 1994. "It was a little different in Chicago. Going from a winning team to a losing one, things were not the same. It wasn't the individuals but the mood on the whole team," Williams said.
After a short stint with the Buffalo Bills, Williams returned to Canada in 1995 to play for the Calgary Stampeders. "Going from Western to the NFL and then Calgary seven or eight games into the season was hard. I had to play slotback, something I had never done, so it was a bit of an adjustment."
Williams got to play for the Stampeders in the playoffs but by that time he didn't really fit into the natural offence of the team. In 1996 he was traded to the Toronto Argonauts where he got off to a great start.
"At one point I was leading the league in touchdowns and was in the top 10 in receiving then I got hurt. I missed a couple of games with injuries and when I came back, the team had made a lot of changes and I really never got back to being the focus of the offence," Williams said.
After being apart of the Argos' Grey Cup season in 1997, Williams retired from professional football and has since returned to Toronto.
He is currently putting his Western bachelor of economics degree to work and is looking for a career in business marketing or management.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999