We are back with the newest installment of the Greatest Riders by numbers. We are into the 30s this team. This is a weird set of numbers. It contains some of the greatest Riders ever and some guys I was forced to include because they were somewhat noteworthy at a number that not many were noteworthy at.
30 – Sentimentally I wanted to give this one to Jamie “The Juggernaut” Boreham. But as much as I love punters who hit like safeties, that doesn’t exactly qualify as greatness. Have to go with DB Bruce Bennett. He sits third all-time in interceptions for the Riders and until they start counting rotations that kick returners make after getting hit by punters as an official stat, that’s good enough to lock down 30.
31 – Sean Lucas is certainly a candidate here. He played solid for a number of years at that cover LB spot. But there are a number of reasons why people would object to that. I don’t care to count those reasons but trust me. Besides, 31 more deservedly goes to WR Hugh Campbell anyway. In 1966 he hauled in 17 receiving TDs, a franchise mark that remains unchallenged to this day.
32 – Guys like Milson Jones and Terry Irvin come to mind but this one was decidedly between two very deserving RBs: Neal Hughes and Mike Saunders. Saunders sits 3rd in rushing. Hughes doesn’t have the lofty stats but was a key special team/depth guy and an important part of 2 Grey Cup championships. I’m giving the edge to RB Neal Hughes, he is part of a very select group in franchise history… he’s one of just 3 Rider players to win 2 Grey Cup rings as a player.
33 – If I don’t give this to the Canuck Truck I’ll have to endure a barrage of fans chastising me for him not being a big enough part of my blog content. So yes this goes to FB Chris Szarka. He scored 12 TDs in 2003. In his prime he could carry a pile like few others. I personally loved his 2009 season. He was running for city council and each TD he scored that season was more effective than any campaigning or door knocking.
34 – Possibly the easiest choice in this entire series. George Reed is the definition of greatness both on and off the field. He is the #2 all-time rusher in CFL history (with 309 less than Mike Pringle). Now consider that all of Reed’s stats were amassed before the introduction of the 18 games season.
35 – The recency bias has me thinking Weldon Brown here. He was a talented defender with a Grey Cup ring though his tenure was not very long. Gotta turn back the pages of the history books for this one. DL Bill Clarke played 15 seasons for the Green and White. He was a 2 time all-star and 2 time team nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian.
36 – Another no-brainer. Clearly its Robokicker. K Dave Ridgeway is the best kicker in franchise history. While many have since been broken, in his day he set many of the CFL records in the kicking department. He also may have had a quasi-important role in the ’89 Grey Cup.
37 – Look I apologize in advance for this one. The thing is 37 is not a number that people want. It is a crappy number given to training camp guys and practice roster players who hope one day to be good enough to merit an upgrade to an actual good number. So it wasn’t just slim pickings at this number, it was next to no pickings. The best I could honestly find was DL Terrence Melton.
38 – I am partial to Tristan Jackson who was a solid DB and even better kick returner. Lamar McGriggs also came up in my research. This one has to go to LB George White.
39 – I waffled on this one for a while. Names like Chris McKenzie and Dave Albright are options. But I think I have to go to DL Charleston Hughes. I realize that his best years were as a Stampeder and he has only been here 2 years but he is one of the best pass rushers in league history. Also ask yourself when the last time a Rider lead the league in sacks in consecutive years?