That’s how Jordan Williams-Lambert describes his whole year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The 24-year-old receiver, once seen as a long shot to even make the team, has now become one of the offence’s greatest stars.
He’s capped off his first CFL season with being the western division nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie.
“It crazy. It hasn’t kicked in yet,” Williams-Lambert said shortly after Thursday’s announcement.
“A lot of football is done behind the scenes and you’re putting in work and nobody’s watching. Now it’s kind of public, that they’ve seen the things I’ve done and how I’ve capitalized on the opportunity.”
A college star at Ball State, he thought for sure he was destined for the NFL. He’s ranked third all-time in touchdowns (24) and fourth in catches (200) and receiving yards (2,723). The New Orleans Saints picked him up and he spent two seasons with the team, on the practice roster in 2016 before eventually being waived in 2017.
In 2018, Williams-Lambert came to the Roughriders via a tryout in Ohio. From there he attended mini-camp in Florida and earned a place at training camp in Saskatoon.
The Roughriders were stacked with veteran receivers at camp including Bakari Grant, Rob Bagg and Chad Owens and few gave Williams-Lambert and his fellow rookie receivers Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore much of a chance to crack the roster – but all three of them did.
With that in mind, Williams-Lambert couldn’t be more thankful to have Evans and Moore by his side.
“We go back to even the beginning of preseason where we were long shots, you know, being rookies you got to overcome the barriers they have against you. I think we did that. I think that it showed all season,” he said.
“Just (having them) around in the bad times and the good times, just sharing those experiences has been a real blessing to have them. They’ve had a great season and we’ve been working together to try to beat a lot of odds.”
But in the end, only one could be the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie and that was Williams-Lambert. He’s tied for the team lead in touchdowns with four, he caught 62 of the 87 (71 percent) passes that went his way for 764 yards.
His steady hands were noticed by fans and teammates alike.
“He’s a big-body guy, but what he does is catch the ball with his hands,” said Riders quarterback Zach Collaros in August. “He’s very reliable in that regard. The more game reps he gets in this offence, the more dependable he will be, and that’s the most important thing for a quarterback.”
Now, Williams-Lambert is ready for his first playoff game in professional football which in the end is even more important than a nod for rookie of the year.
“(I’m) more focused on the task at hand,” the receiver admitted. “It’s exciting but we’ll see.”
QUARTERBACK QUESTIONS REMAIN
He’s listed number one of the depth chart, but still head coach Chris Jones wouldn’t confirm that Zach Collaros would be the starting quarterback Sunday afternoon.
Jones dodged the question by saying he had both quarterbacks ready to go.
Collaros addressed the media not long after, admitting that he knew if he was starting but wasn’t about to share it.
“This is how we decided to play it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said he’s certain Jones knows exactly what he’s doing and that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Roughriders used both quarterbacks.
“We’re prepared for that. This is a small enough league, you play everybody enough times … you know who these guys are and most importantly it’s really about what our guys do,” he said Saturday afternoon.
The Roughriders and the Blue Bombers square off in the west semi-final at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Catch the Green Zone pre-game show starting at 1 p.m.
Here's the Riders depth chart for the west semi-final.
Zach Collaros listed as #1. pic.twitter.com/U53ikgNC1k
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) November 10, 2018
#Bombers depth chart vs. the #Riders. Jovan Santos-Knox appears in top spot at weak side linebacker but should still be considered doubtful after not practising this week. #wfp pic.twitter.com/jm7sFKTHQW
— Jeff Hamilton (@jeffkhamilton) November 10, 2018