CFL Pass

Canadian QB Russ Jackson highlights CFL2020's All-Time Ottawa roster

Iconic Canadian quarterback Russ Jackson highlights CFL2020’s All-Time Ottawa roster, leading a roster of players chosen from all three of Ottawa’s Canadian Football League franchises: the Rough Riders, Renegades, and Redblacks.

Arguably the best Canadian to ever play the position, Jackson played his entire 12-year CFL career with the Rough Riders, leading the team to three Grey Cup championships. Jackson was a three-time Most Outstanding Player (1963, 1966, 1969), four-time Most Outstanding Canadian (1959, 1963, 1966, 1969), Grey Cup MVP (1969), and Lou Marsh Trophy winner as Canada’s top athlete of the year (1969).

The Jackson era was Ottawa’s most successful time in the CFL and is well represented on the all-time roster. Joining Jackson is his only head coach in Ottawa, Frank Clair. Clair was of course on the sideline for the Rough Riders’ three Grey Cups in the 1960s and twice won the Annis Stukus Trophy as CFL coach of the year (1966, 1969). The Canadian Football Hall of Famer still ranks third all-time in wins by a CFL head coach with 147, behind only Wally Buono and the late Don Matthews.

Offensive players from Jackson’s era making the all-time roster included offensive linemen Kaye Vaughan and Moe Racine, running backs Dave Thelen and Ron Stewart, and receiver Whit Tucker.

Defensive players from Jackson’s era making the all-time roster included defensive lineman Billy Joe Booth, linebackers Ken Lehmann and Jerry Campbell, and defensive backs Gene Gaines, George Brancato, and Joe Poirier.

Receiver Brad Sinopoli was the only current Redblacks player to be included on the all-time roster. The 32-year-old has been in Ottawa the past five seasons, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving in the first four. Sinopoli is a two-time Most Outstanding Canadian (2015, 2018) and helped the Redblacks win Ottawa’s first Grey Cup in 40 years in 2016, being named Most Valuable Canadian in the game.

While Sinopoli is the only current Redblacks player on the roster, a few other recent players who helped the team to Grey Cup glory in 2016 were included in offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers and receiver Greg Ellingson, while QB Henry Burris was included as a foundational player.

Special teamers Lewis Ward and Diontae Spencer, who joined the Redblacks after their Grey Cup winning season, also made the roster.
Canadian receiver Tony Gabriel, who played in Ottawa from 1975-81 and was named Most Outstanding Canadian three times (1976-78) and Most Outstanding Player once (1978) while with the Rough Riders, is another notable name on the roster.

And joining Burris as foundational players in Ottawa are linebacker/fullback Eddie Emerson, who played from 1912-37, and tight end/defensive back Bob Simpson, who played from 1950-62.​

The full list:

CFL2020's All-Time Ottawa Roster

* national player