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Former Pirate off to the CFL

For Ricky Williams, patience has paid off.

By JOE SMITH
Published March 30, 2007


For Ricky Williams, patience has paid off.

The former Boca Ciega and Bethune-Cookman defensive back has signed a two-year contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.

Williams, 23, spent the past year out of football, but participated in minicamps and workouts for the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons, along with the Georgia Force and Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League.

"I knew I could still play," Williams said. "I was just waiting for my chance."

Williams got his chance a month ago in an Eskimos open tryout in Orlando, standing out among the 70-80 players. He will play cornerback and return kicks for Edmonton, the 2005 Grey Cup Champions who missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 35 years.

"Ricky has great cover skills and a good understanding of the game," Eskimos coach Danny Maciocia said. "The added bonus is that he also has the ability to return punts and kickoffs.

"We are excited to get him up here."

ON THE MEND: Northeast's Josh Bowman, the Times' pitcher of the year last season, awaits results of an MRI on his right shoulder before he resumes throwing, Vikings coach Eric Wagman said.

Bowman, a University of Tampa signee, was 8-1 with a 1.33 ERA last season. The right-hander currently is 2-1 and has missed his past few starts because of soreness in his shoulder.

Wagman said Bowman is not feeling discomfort and hopes his star pitcher will be back as early as next week.

Times staff writer Bob Putnam contributed to this report.