55 Yard Line

Former Argo Chandler Williams’ death at 27 in flag football game impacts his old teammates

Former Argonaut Chandler Williams passed away Saturday at 27.Professional football's a small world, and that became evident Saturday with the death of 27-year-old Arena Football League receiver Chandler Williams in a flag football tournament in Miami. (A cause of death hasn't yet been released.) Williams was briefly with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts this year and played six games with them before being released in October. He clearly made an impact on his teammates there, though, as shown in the tributes to him on Twitter from Argonauts' players Saturday and Sunday:

CFL rosters feature a huge amount of transition, with plenty of players coming in and out over the course of the year, but the reactions here illustrate how close many of these athletes still get. They say a lot about Williams, too. After a solid college career at Florida International University, he was taken in the seventh and last round of the 2007 NFL draft (233rd overall), but overcame stiff odds to spend four years in the NFL (mostly on practice rosters) with the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. After that, he came up to Canada in 2012, and many in his situation would have coasted, secure that their NFL experience would get them through. That wasn't the case with Williams, though, and the above tweets demonstrate how hard he worked to stand out, even on less-glamourous jobs such as special teams. Things didn't wind up working out for him in Toronto, but he caught on with the Arena League's Tampa Bay Storm for their winter/spring season, and it wouldn't have been unexpected to see him receive another CFL look this coming season. His loss is a tragedy, and one that's being felt north of the border as well as south of it.

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