George Reed
CM SOM
No. 34
Reed as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Born:(1939-10-02)October 2, 1939
Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Died:October 1, 2023(2023-10-01) (aged 83)
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Career information
CFL statusAmerican
Position(s)RB
Height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight205 lb (93 kg)
CollegeWashington State
Career history
As administrator
19721981CFLPA (President)
19861993CFLPA (President)
As player
19631975Saskatchewan Roughriders
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star19651969, 19711974
CFL West All-Star19651969, 19711975
Awards1965CFL MOP
1976Tom Pate Memorial Award.- 54th Grey CupGrey Cup Most Valuable Player
Career stats

George Robert Reed CM SOM (October 2, 1939 – October 1, 2023) was an American college football and Canadian Football League (CFL) player. Reed, along with Mike Pringle and Johnny Bright, is one of the players most often mentioned as being the greatest running back in CFL history. In November 2006, Reed was voted the second greatest CFL player ever in CFL's Top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Reed played his entire 13-year professional football career for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders and his No. 34 jersey is one of eight that has been retired by the club.

Early life and college career

Born on October 2, 1939, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, George Reed Jr. was the third of twelve children of Maggie and George Reed Sr. to grow up in Seattle, where his father began working in a steel factory during the Second World War.[1]

After high school, Reed played Pacific-8 Conference college football with the Washington State University Cougars from 1959 to 1962 where he was teamed with fellow Canadian Football Hall of Famer Hugh Campbell.[2] During his stint at Washington State, Reed broke his leg during practice prior to the 1960 Washington State Cougars season, but returned in 1961.[2]

Professional football

Following college, Reed signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he started for 13 years from 1963 until 1975, playing 203 games.[3][4] By the time he retired, Reed held career records in rushing yards (16,116), rushing touchdowns (134), and touchdowns (137).[4][5] Reed's rushing yards total has since been surpassed by National Football League stars Walter Payton, then Emmitt Smith, and also by CFL star Mike Pringle.[5] Reed is also tied with Pringle with a total of 137 career touchdowns.[6] a record which was later broken by Milt Stegall,[1] George Reed still holds the CFL rushing for touchdowns record at 134.[3]

George Reed was voted the CFL's Most Outstanding Player for 1965 and in 1976 he was the inaugural winner of the Tom Pate Memorial Trophy for playing ability and community service.[7] He was the MVP of the 54th Grey Cup of 1966, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders, his sole Grey Cup win.[8]

When he became the CFL's all-time leading rusher in 1973, he was honored with the unique proclamation of October 7 as George Reed Day in Regina, Saskatchewan.[9]

After his retirement from playing before the 1976 season,[8] his No. 34 jersey was retired by the Roughriders on October 24, 1976.[7]

In 1972, while still an active player, Reed became the fourth president of the Canadian Football League Players' Association (CFLPA).[4] He was the CFLPA's first American and first black president.[10] He maintained the CFLPA presidency until 1981, six years after his retirement from the CFL. Reed returned as the sixth president of the CFLPA from 1986 to 1993.[4]

Career regular season rushing statistics

Year Team GP Rush Yards Y/R Lg TD
1963 Saskatchewan Roughriders 15 173 751 4.3 22 5
1964 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 185 1012 5.5 55 10
1965 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 274 1768 6.5 46 12
1966 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 266 1409 5.3 71 6
1967 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 302 1471 4.9 50 15
1968 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 268 1222 4.6 69 16
1969 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 273 1353 5.0 29 12
1970 Saskatchewan Roughriders 15 193 821 4.3 21 5
1971 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 218 1146 5.3 56 12
1972 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 224 1069 4.8 59 13
1973 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 256 1193 4.7 23 12
1974 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 288 1447 5.0 26 5
1975 Saskatchewan Roughriders 16 323 1454 4.5 22 11
CFL Totals 203 3243 16,116 5.0 71 134
Source:[11]

Later life

Reed remained in Saskatchewan after he retired from playing football and for decades was active in the local community with various charities and organizations.[9] A naturalized Canadian citizen who was the Director of Guest and Community Relations at SaskGaming,[citation needed] Reed was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1978,[12] Canada's highest civilian honour, and in 1979 was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.[13][14]

Reed's daughter, Georgette Reed, represented Canada in the women's shot put competition at the 1992 Summer Olympics.[15][16]

In 2012, in honour of the 100th Grey Cup, Canada Post used his image on a series of commemorative postage stamps. The image was also used on presentation posters and other materials to promote the Grey Cup game and other celebrations associated with the centennial.[4]

In November 2019, a stretch of road along the north end of the Roughriders' current home, Mosaic Stadium, was renamed "George Reed Way" in his honour, with the stadium's official address changed to 1734 George Reed Way.[17][18] A statue of Reed, erected in September 2017, stands outside the stadium.[19]

In November 9, 2022, Globe Theatre located in Regina produced a live theatre show based on George Reed's CFL life (1963 to 1975) in Regina. The play is written by Munish Sharma.[20]

Reed died on October 1, 2023, one day before his 84th birthday.[21] Shortly afterwards, fifty years after he became the CFL's all-time leading rusher, he was once again honored in Saskatchewan with the proclamation of October 7 as George Reed Day.[9]

On November 17, 2023, the CFL announced that the top award for players in the league would be renamed "The George Reed Most Outstanding Player Award" in Reed's honour.

References

  1. ^ a b Warick, Jason (April 25, 2021). "Race to Touchdown". Black on the Prairies. CBC News. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Counts, Lucas (October 4, 2023). "George Reed, WSU Hall of Famer and CFL legend, passes away at 83". 247Sports. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Dort, Brit (October 3, 2023). "'Blessing to know the guy': Former teammate, Riders remember George Reed". CTV News Regina. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e Ralph, Dan (October 1, 2023). "Former CFL running back George Reed dies at the age of 83". National Post. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Pringle breaks rushing record". The Spokesman Review. Associated Press. September 19, 2004. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  6. ^ Lefko, Perry (September 15, 2009). "Lefko sits down with Mike Pringle". www.sportsnet.ca. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Saskatchewan Roughriders legend George Reed dead at 83". 980 CJME. October 1, 2023. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  8. ^ a b "Roughriders legend George Reed, one of CFL's greatest running backs, dies at 83". www.sportsnet.ca. October 1, 2023. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c "Saturday declared George Reed Day in Saskatchewan". paNOW. October 5, 2023. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  10. ^ Marshall, Joe (August 13, 1973). "Running at a record pace". Sports Illustrated Vault. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  11. ^ "George Reed football statistics". Stats Crew.
  12. ^ Reynoldson, Trillian (October 5, 2023). "'He was a team player in every sense': George Reed Day proclaimed in Sask". Regina Leader-Post. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Kevin (April 22, 2006). "The might-have-beens of George Reed". Edmonton Journal. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  14. ^ "Pringle chasing down George Reed". TSN.ca. Canadian Press. September 3, 2004. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  15. ^ Seiberling, Irene (December 4, 2012). "George Reed Foundation gala raises approximately $60,000". leaderpost.com. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Georgette Reed Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  17. ^ "Avenue near Mosaic Stadium renamed George Reed Way to honour legend". Global News. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  18. ^ "Road outside Mosaic Stadium renamed in honour of George Reed". leaderpost. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  19. ^ Soloducha, Alex (September 3, 2017). "2 Rider greats honoured with statues at new Mosaic Stadium". CBC News. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  20. ^ "#34". Globe Theratre. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  21. ^ "George Reed, legendary Roughriders running back, dead at 83". CBC. October 1, 2023. Retrieved October 4, 2023.