The New Orleans Saints waived wide receiver Saalim Hakim from the practice squad to make room for new signing Chris Williams, a wideout/kick returner from the Canadian Football League, the team said Friday.
Williams, 25, signed with the Saints on Thursday, one day after he reached an agreement with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to pursue free agency in the NFL. According to The Canadian Press, Williams was in a lengthy legal bout to be released from his contract with the Tiger-Cats and was sitting out the CFL’s season before the team agreed to let him leave.
“This is the best situation for me,” Williams told reporters Friday. “This is a proven organization — proven team, ... proven quarterback, special teams are good, I mean, you name it man, you name it.”
Williams, out of New Mexico State, scored 17 touchdowns for the Tiger-Cats in 2012 on 11 catches, five punt returns and a missed field goal. He set a team record for total touchdowns and a league mark for return touchdowns.
The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Williams finished last season with 83 catches for 1,298 yards and topped the CFL in punt returns with 78 for 1,117 yards. The CFL named him its best rookie in 2011.
Hakim spent time on the Saints’ practice squad in 2012 and landed there again after attending training camp with the team this year. He showed impressive speed at camp but struggled to catch the ball consistently at times.
Williams told reporters on Friday that he got married on Tuesday and is now going to focus on gaining the trust of his team as quickly as possible to have a chance of getting on the field.
He said he likes that undersized players like wide receiver Lance Moore, running back Darren Sproles and quarterback Drew Brees have succeeded in New Orleans.
“Those guys all got doubted because of their size, and now they’re here doing big things,” he said. “I’ve dealt with it my whole life, and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.