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'Blessing to know the guy': Former teammate, Riders remember George Reed

On Monday Saskatchewan Roughriders’ president and CEO Craig Reynolds, as well as former Roughriders teammate of George Reed, Steve Mazurak, met with media following the football legend’s passing.

Reed, who was a day away from his 84th birthday passed away on Sunday.

“Yesterday was an incredibly sad day for Saskatchewan, the Canadian Football League (CFL) and of course the Reed family. The word ‘legend’ gets thrown around a lot but that’s exactly what George was. He was an absolute living legend,” Reynolds said.

“He’s one of the most influential figures in the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and I think it’s because he inspired a generation to be football fans.”

Reed was a member of the Riders from 1963 to 1975, his entire CFL career. He retired before training camp in 1976 as the league’s all-time rushing leader with 16,116 career rushing yards and 134 career rushing touchdowns, a record that remains untouched to this day.

Reed was also a major part of the Riders’ first Grey Cup victory in franchise history in 1966, rushing for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Off the field, Reed was also a major presence, in 1974 he became president of the CFL Players’ Association. In 1975 the George Reed Foundation was created, it would see Reed spend the next 50 years volunteering and giving back to the province in areas of education, continuous learning, healthy living and for people living with disabilities.

“He was just that special person and I was fortunate enough to know George at a number of different levels. He was the kind of individual that never quit. It was just a blessing to know the guy. Being in the huddle with George and seeing all those times when the world knew he was going to get the ball,” Mazurak said.

“Sometimes when an alumni player of the league is sitting in the stands on TSN and we show the player and we say, ‘One of the greatest of all time’ or there were very few that we could say, ‘Football royalty.’ But for George Reed whenever we showed him on TSN, and he would go to all the games, we’d say, ‘That is football royalty.’ It was just a different level,” CFL on TSN analyst and former Saskatchewan Roughrider Glen Suitor said.

“To see him interact with the community the way he did, he always had time for fans and was always giving back to our fans through the George Reed Foundation, Special Olympics, Mother Theresa Middle School, where he was passionate about those particular causes and he was just tireless,” Reynolds said.

“We always worry that when we meet our heroes, we’ll be disappointed. You were never disappointed when you met George Reed,” Suitor said.

-- With files from David Prisciak. Top Stories

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