A prominent figure in Canadian football has passed away. George Reed, who dedicated his entire professional career to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, achieved the distinction of becoming the all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
George Reed, born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on October 2, 1939, commenced his football journey while attending Washington State University. There, he participated in the Pacific-8 Conference as a member of the Cougars. During his college years, he shared the field with Hugh Campbell, who would eventually join him in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Following his college days, Reed inked a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team hailing from Canada that stands as the fourth oldest gridiron football team globally. In 2006, he revealed to the press that he chose the Roughriders over the Denver Broncos due to their offer of an additional $3,000 in Canadian currency, seeing it as an opportunity for both himself and his wife to enjoy a better life.
Beginning in 1963, Reed embarked on an illustrious career with the Roughriders, spanning an impressive 13 years in which he never faltered. Over this span, he participated in 203 games and set remarkable league records for rushing yards, totaling 16,116, and rushing touchdowns, accumulating 134.
In 1965, he garnered recognition as the league’s Most Outstanding Player for that year. Moreover, in 1972, Reed assumed the role of president in the Canadian Football League Player’s Association, a position he retained until 1981, six years after retiring from the sport. He later returned to this role in 1986, serving until 1993. His contributions were commemorated by the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1973, which declared October 9 as George Reed Day in his honor.
Upon Reed’s announcement of retirement before the team’s 1976 training camp, the Roughriders retired his iconic Number 34 jersey, a distinction granted to only eight numbers in the team’s history.
Even though his football career concluded in 1976, Reed chose to establish his residence in Canada. He became a naturalized citizen, and in 1978, he received the prestigious Order of Canada, the nation’s second-highest civilian distinction. Just a year later, he earned his place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Presently, a statue in his likeness graces the vicinity of the Roughriders’ stadium, located on George Reed Way. Sadly, Reed passed away on October 1, a day shy of his 84th birthday.