Willie Pless

Last updated
Willie Pless
No. 32, 39
Born: (1964-02-21) February 21, 1964 (age 56)
Anniston, Alabama
Career information
CFL status American
Position(s) LB
College Kansas
Career history
As player
19861989 Toronto Argonauts
1990 BC Lions
19911998 Edmonton Eskimos
1999 Saskatchewan Roughriders
2000 Edmonton Eskimos*
Career highlights and awards
  • Grey Cup champion (1993)
CFL All-Star 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
CFL East All-Star 1986, 1988
CFL West All-Star 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998
Awards CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player
(1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
Norm Fieldgate Trophy
(1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
Frank M. Gibson Trophy
(1986)
Honors2004 - Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Honour
RecordsEskimos Record
  • Most Defensive Tackles – Career (813)
  • Most Defensive Tackles – Season (117) - 1998
  • Most Fumble Returns – Career (26)
  • Most Fumble Returns – Season (8) - 1992
  • Most Fumble Returns – Game (3) - 2 times
  • Most Tackles for Losses – Career (41)
Career stats

Willie Pless (born February 21, 1964) is a former Canadian football linebacker in the Canadian Football League. He played for the Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, and Saskatchewan Roughriders, winning the 1993 Grey Cup with the Eskimos. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Contents

College career

Pless played his college football at the University of Kansas. As a Jayhawk starter for only three years (1983 to 1985) he amassed an amazing 633 tackles. This is not recognized as a record, as the NCAA officially counted tackles starting in 2000, but the present leader (Rod Davis) has only 526. [1] Being 5 feet 10 inches tall, 210 pounds, Pless was not drafted by the NFL. He would later (in 1990) try out for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, but otherwise, his entire 14 year, 250 game, career was played in Canada. Willie was an All Big Eight Academic first team and was elected as the all-time best linebacker in the history of Big Eight after it became the Big Twelve. [2]

Professional career

Willie Pless may be the best defensive player ever to play in the CFL. [3] He played for 4 teams: Toronto Argonauts for 4 years (1986 to 1989), B.C. Lions for 1990, Edmonton Eskimos for (1991 to 1998) and finally the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1999). [4] He holds the league record for most tackles (1,241). [5] He also had 84 quarterback sacks, 39 interceptions, 39 fumble recoveries, [3] played in 18 playoff games and three Grey Cups, winning one championship (the 81st Grey Cup game). [4] He won the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award five times and was an all star 11 times. [4]

Honours and awards

[4]

He is a member of the University of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame [6] and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005. [4] In November, 2006, Willie Pless was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (#16) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network The Sports Network/TSN. [7]

Personal life

Pless has settled in Edmonton and runs a personal trainer business. [8]

Notes

  1. "Catching Up with: Willie Pless". kuathletics.com. October 7, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  2. Unforgettable Hawks.RetrievedDecember 29, 2010.
  3. 1 2 CFLpedia Entry.RetrievedDecember 29, 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Willie Pless". Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  5. "CFL Regular Season All-Time Records" . Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  6. Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.RetrievedDecember 29, 2010.
  7. TSN Top 50 CFL Players.RetrievedDecember 29, 2010.
  8. Whatever happened to Willie Pless.RetrievedDecember 29, 2010.

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