TSN unveils all-time Blue Bombers roster

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

TSN launched CFL 2020 last week, a new program that covers the league during its suspension due to the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic.

The program unveiled its all-time Blue Bombers roster on Friday, recognizing 27 players and one head coach.

The roster had to include a minimum of seven national players and at least one player from the team’s active roster. In the case of Winnipeg, two current stars made the cut.

Quarterback — Ken Ploen (1957-1967)
Running Back — Charles Roberts (2001-2008)
Running Back — Leo Lewis (1955-1966)
Receiver — Milt Stegall (1995-2008)
Receiver — Joe Poplawski (1978-1986)
Receiver — James Murphy (1983-1990)
Receiver — Rick House (1979-1984, 1989-1991)
Offensive Line — Chris Walby (1981-1996)
Offensive Line — John Bonk (1973-1985)
Offensive Line — Buddy Tinsley (1950-1960)
Offensive Line — Bill Frank (1969-1976)
Offensive Line — Stanley Bryant (2015-present)

Defensive Line — Doug Brown (2001-2011)
Defensive Line — Tony Norman (1980-1986)
Defensive Line — Herb Gray (1956-1965)
Defensive Line — Willie Jefferson (2019-present)
Linebacker — Tyrone Jones (1983-1987, 1989-1991)
Linebacker — James West (1985-1992)
Linebacker — Greg Battle (1987-1993, 1997-1998)
Defensive Back — Rod Hill (1988-1992)
Defensive Back — Less Browne (1989-1991)
Defensive Back — Jovon Johnson (2008-2013)
Defensive Back — Ernie Pitts (1957-1969)
Defensive Back — Paul Bennett (1980-1983)

Placekicker — Trevor Kennerd (1980-1991)
Punter — Bob Cameron (1980-2003)
Special Teamer — Wade Miller (1995-2005)
Head coach — Bud Grant (1957-1966)

The two active players who made the cut were offensive tackle Stanley Bryant and defensive end Willie Jefferson.

The selection of Jefferson was a surprise given that he’s only been a member of the team for one year. The edge rusher was brilliant in 2019 — he put up 12 sacks and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player — but that’s a short time make an impact.

A surprising omission was Troy Westwood at the placekicker spot. Kennerd left a legacy in Winnipeg, but Westwood has a higher career field goal percentage (72.3 percent to 66.6) and is the team’s all-time leading scorer.

The three selected linebackers — Tyrone Jones, James West, and Greg Battle — were teammates in Winnipeg for four seasons (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991). One could argue that the trio comprised the most formidable linebacking corps in CFL history.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.