'Gizmo' Williams highlights CFL Hall of Fame class

Updated: September 29, 2006, 8:05 PM ET
Associated Press

HAMILTON, Ontario -- Henry "Gizmo" Williams, the 5-foot-6 speedster who revolutionized CFL special-teams play during his 14-year career with the Edmonton Eskimos, was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on Friday.

Former players Matt Dunigan, Bobby Jurasin and Allen Pitts and builder Victor Spencer also were inducted.

"This is just another chapter in my life," Williams said. "It's not about how you start, it's how you finish and that's the message I try to give people about life."

Williams, now 44, returned a record 26 punts for touchdowns, including five in one season. He also returned three kickoffs and five missed field goals for touchdowns, caught 21 TD passes and ran for another score.

Williams remains the league's career leader in punt returns (1,003), punt return yards (11,177), kickoff returns (335) and kickoff return yards (7,354) and often punctuated his return TDs with a flip. Williams' most memorable play was a 115-yard missed field goal return for a TD in Edmonton's 38-36 Grey Cup win over Toronto in 1987

"This is humbling,but I feel like many of my friends have been cheated,too, guys that I've played with," Williams said. "I'm going into the Hall of Fame but people don't know there were guys who made blocks and were the ones who did it for me."

Dunigan played for six teams -- Edmonton, B.C., Toronto, Winnipeg, Birmingham and Hamilton -- during his 14-year CFL career, twice winning the Grey Cup ('87 with the Eskimos and '91 with the Argos). A concussion during the '96 season forced Dunigan to retire with 43,857 career passing yards and 306 TDs.

Pitts spent his 11-year career with Calgary. He remains the CFL's career receiving yardage leader with 14,891 yards and participated in five Grey Cups, winning twice.

Jurasin spent 13 seasons in the CFL (1986-'97 with Saskatchewan, two games in '98 with Toronto). He appeared in two Grey Cups with the Riders, winning in '89. He's third in career sacks with 142 behind Grover Covington (157) and Elfrid Payton (154).

Spencer, a Vancouver native who turns 82 in November, spearheaded a group that landed the B.C. franchise in 1954. He spent nine years on the Lions' executive and helped Vancouver land the '55 Grey Cup.

When the Lions had financial troubles in 1976, Spencer received the inaugural Lionbacker Certificate to begin a franchise-saving bond drive.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press