Playing the field: the best of non-’Riders

It’s been said that I am a tad biased when it comes to team loyalties. My loyalties lean toward the Saskatchewan Roughriders — actually they tilt at a dangerous angle towards the ’Riders. Let’s change things up today and discuss players on other teams that have my vote as a personal fan.

It’s been said that I am a tad biased when it comes to team loyalties. My loyalties lean toward the Saskatchewan Roughriders — actually they tilt at a dangerous angle towards the ’Riders. Let’s change things up today and discuss players on other teams that have my vote as a personal fan.

I’ll start on the West Coast and talk about Lions centre Angus Reid. Angus Reid has been a very steady player throughout his career and he is probably a virtual unknown to most casual CFL fans. Good O-linemen often toil in anonymity because their names only appear when they make mistakes or are just career boneheads like the Argos’ Rob Murphy.

However, most of them can provide some of the best interviews on a team because they are generally big and bright people. Angus Reid is one of those guys. I have a nephew named Angus and I see a similar sense of humour in both guys. Maybe it’s just something about the name.

I also like B.C. quarterback Buck Pierce. The guy is a warrior in the Matt Dunigan tradition and he will likely suffer from a shortened career because of his linebacker attitude. But John Wayne would have loved the guy.

The Calgary Stampeders have a couple of players that I respect as a fan. Tailback Joffrey Reynolds has always been a pro, despite the obnoxious behaviour of his receivers and kicker. Reynolds must have watched some film on old school guys like the legendary George Reed, a man who played his entire career with class.

I almost excluded Henry Burris because of his latest outburst, but he is a hard guy not to like, and he is an asset to the game in Calgary where football lives in the shadow of hockey.

I like Ricky Ray even though he plays for my least favourite team. CFL fans should feel privileged to watch this guy play quarterback because he is one of the best ever to play the game. He is a class act on and off the field and sometimes warriors come in quiet and calm packages.

There is not much to cheer about in Winnipeg, but giant defensive tackle Doug Brown is one guy who never quits for the Bombers. He is usually double-teamed on every play but even two guys are not enough to stop this six-foot-eight locomotive.

Hamilton linebacker Otis Floyd is a guy who plays football with very violent intentions. Linebackers have to enjoy collisions because that is the nature of their trade. Otis Floyd understands the concept very well and he is a stone cold killer on a football field. He may be a throwback to an era of bigger linebackers and you do not want to meet this man on the job.

Toronto’s talented defensive tackle Adriano Belli may seem like an odd choice given his lengthy career of bad behaviour, but he adds some comic colour to a bad team.

One of my favourite players has always been Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo, even in his Las Vegas Posse days. The man is absolute class and he is a great way to end my list.

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer whose column on the CFL appears on Fridays and Tuesdays. He can be reached at mystarcollectorcar.com

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