Legendary CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey has been selected for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Ealey threw for 5,000 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions and rushed 394 times for 903 yards and 12 touchdowns at the University of Toledo (1969-71). The Rockets went a perfect 35-0 over those three seasons, winning the Tangerine Bowl in each of those years and Ealey being named the game’s Most Valuable Player each time.
The six-foot-one, 195-pound passer went unselected in the 1972 NFL Draft because he refused to switch to a different position at the professional level. He was a dominant passer in college, but NFL teams refused to consider playing him at quarterback due to the colour of his skin.
Ealey signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1972 and soon became their starting quarterback, leading them to an 11-3 record. He was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie and led the Ticats to a championship at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the first Grey Cup played in Hamilton in since 1944.
The native of Portsmouth, Ohio played seven seasons in the CFL as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1972-74), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1974-75), and Toronto Argonauts (1975-78). He threw for 13,326 yards, 82 touchdowns, and 69 interceptions and rushed 664 times for 3,984 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Ealey’s No. 16 is one of four numbers that Toledo has retired and he finished eighth in voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1971. A number of powerful voices have advocated for Ealey entering the College Football Hall of Fame in the past, including Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy.
Ealey, 72, resides in Brampton, Ont. with his wife and his three children and six grandchildren.