Monday, June 1, 2020

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The Greatest 40-49

After a brief 1 week hiatus, we are back continuing our look at the greatest Riders by number. I’d offer an explanation for my lack of posting last week but… screw it we are in quarantine I don’t think my lack of effort on any particular day requires an explanation. I'm just impressed I'm wearing pants.

We are now into the 40s.

40 – If you are one of the 8 players in franchise history to have your number retired, you are worthy of being up on the list. Mel Beckett was one of the 4 Rider players to die in a plane crash coming back from the all-star game in Vancouver. It was a tragedy that set this franchise back many years on the field.

41 – Some notables here such as Fred Perry who did some great things aside from getting into business with Marcus Crandell. Of course recently Tyron Brackenridge set a pretty high standard. But this one has to go to DL Ron Atchison. A dominating defensive player for an amazing 17 seasons as a Rider. Also one of the few guys whose most infamous stories involves a pair of hush puppy shoes.

42 – This one was a tough one. Larry Bird was an option (the lineman not the Celtics great). Just spend 3 seasons watching Derrick Moncrief dominate. But even an impact player like Moncrief isn’t quite up to the standard set by LB Eddie Lowe. 9 years as a Rider including a Grey Cup ring and an all-star nod in 1989.

43 – One thing the Riders have in spades is a history of great O-linemen. OL Ted Urness was one of the forerunners in that legacy. He was an all-star at centre for 6 straight years! He has also been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

44 – No brainer right here… OL Roger Aldag. A local Saskatchewan product who went on to play in 17 season, the second most games in franchise history, a 5 time all-star, a 9 time team nominee for top OL and 2 time CFL Most Outstanding OL. One of the best players in the history of the franchise.

45 – While some would disagree, an argument could be made here for Mike McCullough. He is one of 3 players in franchise history with 2 Grey Cup rings as a player. But I think if you look at impact on the franchise, this one has to go to QB Glen Dobbs. He was a big part of the early rise of the Riders' popularity in the province.

46 – Going to go with a completely personal choice and give it to LB Kitwana Jones. He was never a star but he remains one of my favourite players ever. Just one of those high energy high effort guys that are a staple of any great team. Great on special teams, rotational depth at LB. Hell he even happily took on being a defensive tackle when Etchverry stupidly lined him up there. While looking back on his career I was reminded of how we traded him to Edmonton in 2009 for QB Juan Joseph. That really worked well.

47 – Out of principle I wanted to give this to Mo Lloyd purely to piss off my buddy Rob. While Lloyd is certainly a worthy candidate based on his play in ’06 and ’07. I’m actually going to give this one to a different linebacker. I really don’t think we fully appreciated how good LB Sam Eguavoen was. An impact player who is deservedly now playing in the NFL.

48 – The trip down linebacker memory lane continues with LB Rey Williams. Played his early CFL years here and came back to be a key part of the defense in the 2013 championship year. Dude could fly around the field.

49 – The first name that came to mind for me was Jeff Knox and while I was a Knox fan I assumed that if I kept digging, I would find someone to supplant him… I did not.  So LB Jeff Knox it is. He was one of the few bright spots on some dismal teams in 2015 and 2016.

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