William Powell is an electrifying running back in the CFL who looks to make big-time plays every time he touches the football. Powell came to the CFL in 2015 when he signed with the Ottawa Redblacks and was part of the Grey Cup team in 2016.
After four seasons in Ottawa, two of which he racked up over 1000 yards rushing, Powell signed with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in 2019 as a free agent. After a pair of seasons in Saskatchewan, Will signed back in Ottawa this off-season, becoming a member of the Redblacks again.
Powell was born in Dallas, Texas, but after moving to Ottawa to pursue a career in the CFL, he now calls the nation’s capital his home full-time, spending the off-season here with his wife, Jahne and two-year-old daughter, Zoe.
When he’s not playing football, Powell explores Ottawa with his family. Together, they love visiting museums and going for walks along the canal. We sat down with Will to discuss living and playing in Ottawa and his taste in music and fashion.
What are some of your best memories of playing in Ottawa from 2015 to 2018?
Winning playoff games at TD Place in front of Redblacks fans in 2015 & 2016, specifically the 2015 East Final against Hamilton. I’ll never forget the 93-yard touchdown pass from Henry Burris to Greg Ellingson on 2nd & 25; the crowd was electric and as loud as I’ve ever heard it.
Another one would be winning the 2016 Grey Cup.
Why did you decide to sign with Ottawa after two seasons in Saskatchewan?
I always wanted to come back. My family lives here; it’s where I started my CFL career. It just felt like the right thing to do, the best fit for me and the right place to be. It’s my home away from home, and I was excited to get the opportunity to come back to Ottawa.
You live in Ottawa year-round. What are some things you like to do around the city?
I love going for walks along the canal. I like to explore the ByWard Market; check out whatever is happening there. We like to do a lot of family stuff like skate on the canal and visit the museums around Ottawa. My daughter’s two and a half now, so I like to let her see everything. She’s learning a lot and likes to experience new things, so it’s always fun for us to do family activities.
Who was your favourite football player growing up?
Emmitt Smith. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, so the Cowboys were my favourite team. Football is such a big thing in Texas, so I grew up loving football and the Cowboys. Me playing running back at a young age as well, I was destined to fall in love with Emmitt Smith.
What songs are on your gameday playlist?
I like motivational music. Future is an artist I like a lot.
Hustle Hard by Ace Hood and Go Get It from T.I. are two songs that get me pumped up and are always on my playlists.
What three clothing brands do you prefer wearing when it comes to fashion?
I like Zara; they’ve always been very fashionable. I shop there a lot with my family.
Recently I’ve been really into Dior; They’ve got some nice stuff as well. I also love Gucci shoes, so the last one has to be Gucci.
Who do you look up to when it comes to style or fashion? Any athletes come to mind?
I think LeBron James has some good style. Basketball players always tend to push the envelope more than others, and most of the time, it’s pretty good style.
Also, DeAndre Hopkins, receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, I really like his style.
Those are just two that come to mind, but I know I’m forgetting about plenty of guys out there whose style I admire.
Who’s the best player you’ve ever come across or played against throughout your career?
I’m going to have to say who many would call the greatest of all time, Tom Brady. When I was with the Arizona Cardinals, we played the Patriots, and it was amazing to see him go to work and be so professional.
It was just amazing to watch. He was playing in New England before I was even in college, so seeing him still at the top of his game after I came to Canada and continue being one of the top quarterbacks in the game today is remarkable.
What are your goals heading into your seventh season in the CFL?
My goal is to continue to get better as a football player. I want to continue to make electrifying plays on the field, help propel my team to victory and bring another championship to Ottawa.
What advice would you give to a young football player?
I would definitely tell them they have to believe in themselves. That’s number one. With that, you’ve also got to put in the work. If you put in the work, believe in yourself and not get deterred, you’ll be able to accomplish some amazing things.