Legendary CFL Running Back Dead at 83

(RepublicanJournal.org) – One of Canadian football’s star players has died. George Reed spent his entire career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, becoming the Canadian Football League’s all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.

George Reed was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on October 2, 1939. His football career began when he was a student at Washington State University, where he played Pacific-8 Conference with the Cougars. As a college player, he was teamed with Hugh Campbell, who later became a fellow member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

After college, Reed was signed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which, despite its Canadian origins, is the fourth oldest gridiron football team in the world today. In 2006, he told reporters he picked the Roughriders over the Denver Broncos because they offered him $3,000 (Canadian) more, and “It was an opportunity for my wife and I to have a few things.” Starting in 1963, Reed became one of their all-time best players; in an unbroken 13-year career, he played 203 games and set league records for rushing yards (16,116) and rushing touchdowns (134). In 1965, he was voted as the league’s Most Outstanding Player for the year; in 1972, he became president of the Canadian Football League Player’s Association, a post he held until 1981 –- six years after retiring from the game –- and returned to in 1986, this time until 1993. The team’s home city of Regina, Saskatchewan, honored his career in 1973, declaring October 9 as George Reed Day. When Reed announced his retirement before the team’s 1976 training camp, the Roughriders retired his iconic Number 34 jersey –- one of only eight numbers they’ve ever done that for.

Although he stopped playing football in 1976, Reed made Canada his home. He was a naturalized citizen, and in 1978, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the country’s second-highest civilian honor. A year later, he was made a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Today, a statue of him stands outside the Roughriders’ stadium, which is on George Reed Way. Reed died on October 1, the day before his 84th birthday.

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