All time great CFL receivers: Geroy Simon
I love the history of pro football, and I love the CFL. Which is why in the past on the 99 Yards website CFL pages we have looked at some of the greats of the game. So far, we have looked back at a variety of special teams players. As well as defensive superstars quarterbacks, and running backs (See end of article).
But what about the men out wide? I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the great CFL names in that area of the game. After all, UK based NFL fans with a love of the history of the game can tell you plenty about men like Jery Rice, Randy Moss, Don Hutson, Steve Largent, Calvin Johnson and many many more.
Well I am here to tell UK based gridiron fans that the 3 down game has a pantheon of its own. We started looking at these legendary 3 Down wideouts with Milt Stegall. Then moved on to Ben Cahoon, and Allen Pitts. Now we move onto another Hall of Fame superstar – Geroy Simon.
Geroy Simon came out of Maryland college, and following short periods around the Bengals and Eagles was signed for part of the 1997 season onto the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. From there Simon landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next year he was on their practice roster for the whole season before being released.
Geroy Simon broke into the CFL in 1999, and spent two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. There he was behind Milt Stegall as the star receiver, so his numbers were solid without being spectacular. In those two years he had 85 catches for 1,031 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Simon became a free agent after the 2000 season, but didn’t sign with BC until October of 2001, picking up 14 catches in 6 games. 2002 was another good, but not great season with 50 catches in 17 games.
Then, while with the Lions, his CFL career burst into life.
Geroy Simon – CFL superman
From 2003 onwards fans got to see Geroy light it up. That season he had 94 catches covering 1,687 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was named both a Western and a CFL All-Star for the first time in his career.
Proving it wasn’t a flash in the pan, he was even more spectacular in 2004. 103 catches for 1,750 yards, and 14 TDs led to a second West and CFL All-Star selection. At the time he was only the third BC Lions player to have 100+ catches in a season. Plus he broke Darren Flutie’s BC single season receiving yardage record.
The following season he ‘slumped’ to 89 catches, 1,322 yards and 10 touchdowns. The fact that this was now a ‘down’ year just demonstrated the rarified heights he had begun to operate at.
His best season came in 2006. That year he caught 105 passes for 1,856 yards with 15 TD’s to earn his third West and CFL All-Star selections, and was also named the Outstanding Player in the CFL. To cap it all the 13-5 Lions went on to win the Grey Cup that year.
From 2003 to 2011 he had nine consecutive 1000+ yards receiving seasons, and didn’t fall below 70+ receptions. 2011 proved truly special for Geroy Simon. That season, while the Lions recovered from an 0-5 start to finish 11-7 and won the Grey Cup, he had a record-setting campaign. His 88th touchdown as a Lion meant he became the Franchise record holder.
One last dance
In 2012 he had 54 grabs for 700 yards and 2 touchdowns. The most significant moment coming in June, in a game against Winnipeg, when he passed Milt Stegall to become the all-time CFL career reception yards leader. A discinction, as of 2023, that he still holds.
However, after that 2012 season he became surplus to BC’s requirements. It was clear he would be in a reduced role if he did stay. Lions GM Wally Buono let Simon put feelers out and he landed in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Roughriders were happy to deal for Simon, sending receiver Justin Harper and a third round draft pick to BC for Simon.
In his final season he missed the first 3 weeks of the season with an injury. He would go on however to become the third player to ever pass 1,000 receptions. As well as becoming the first ever CFL player to have 16,000 career receiving yards. Following a 40 catch, 565 yard season with 3 majors, Simon signed off in style. He caught 2 touchdown passes in his last game, the 2013 Grey Cup, as Saskatchewan won 45-23.
That was the Roughriders’ 4th title, and Simon’ third. A nice way to cap a legendary career.
Check out an interview about his career with Geroy Simon here.
Geroy Simon – The Awards
During Simon’s career he played in 238 regular season games, 17 playoff games and 4 championship games winning a total of 3 Grey Cup Championships.
He was selected as a CFL Western All-Star 7 times (2003-2004, 2006-2009 and 2011). He was named a CFL All-Star 6 times in his career (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011). As well as being awarded the CFLPA All-Star nod 4 times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008).
Simon received two team nominations for Outstanding Player in 2006 and 2009, ultimately winning the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award in 2006.
He was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017. At the time of his retirement he was the CFL all-time leader in receptions and career yardage. While the first has been surpassed, the latter has not.
Beyond the wide receivers
Special teams players we have looked at have included kickers Paul Osbaldiston, Lui Passaglia, Bob Cameron and Dave Cutler. As well as legendary returners Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams.
On the quarterbacking front we have looked at the likes of Damon Allen, Ron Lancaster, Tom Wilkinson, Tracy Ham, Tom Clements, Dieter Brock and Sam Etcheverry.
Not to mention defensive superstars such as Wayne Harris, Willie Pless, Angelo Mosca, Dickie Harris, Norm Fieldgate, Jim Corrigall, and Bill Baker.
While the backs we looked at were legendary too. Including Kelvin Anderson, Charles Roberts, George Reed, Johnny Bright, & the legendary Mike Pringle.
Players make the game and great players make up part of the rich fabric of the history fo the game. So if you want to know more why not pick some out and take a look?
Banner Image: Geroy Simon with the BC Lions. Image from 3Downnation.com