We’re already up to Part Four of the “Best Alouettes by Jersey Number” series. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the all-time greats that wore numbers 30 through 39 for the Als.
If you missed any of the first three parts of the series, you can find them below:
Part One – Numbers 00 to 9
Part Two – Numbers 10 to 19
Part Three – Numbers 20 to 29
Now that you’re all caught up on the first three parts, let’s take a look at this week’s selections:
30 – John O’Leary – RB – 1977 to 1979: The Nebraska product had three solid years with the Als as a dual-threat running back. He rushed for a career-high 859 yards in his rookie season and he added 235 receiving yards. In 1979, he posted a career best 537 yards receiving. O’Leary was part of the Grey Cup winning team in 1977.
31 – Barron Miles – DB – 1998 to 2004: No disrespect to Mark Estelle, William Stanback or Winston Venable, but Miles was simply on another level. It’s a shame he didn’t finish his career in Montreal. He was an East Division All-Star in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 and he was a CFL All-Star in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Miles also won the 2002 Grey Cup with the Alouettes. Miles is second all-time in career interceptions, with 66. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2018. He’s now serving as the team’s defensive backs coach. Miles is an all-timer.
32 – Terry Irvin – DB – 1986: Irvin did most of his damage with the Calgary Stampeders (1977 to 1983) and then with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1984-1985). He was traded to Montreal ahead of the 1986 season (the Als folded after that season) and managed to snag a career-high 12 interceptions during that year (that’s still a franchise record). Irvin was an East Division All-Star in his only year in the East Division. Sure, he only spent one year with the Als, but that was a pretty impactful season. Only Less Browne, Miles and Larry Highbaugh have more career interceptions than Irvin (62).
33 – Steve Ferrughelli – RB/FB – 1973 to 1975: Bruno Heppell and Chuck McMann played longer, but Ferrughelli put up some impressive numbers during his Als years. He rushed for over 1,100 yards in 1974 and was named an East Division All-Star. Ferrughelli also helped the team hoist the Grey Cup that year. He was Grey Cup MVP in a losing effort in 1975.
34 – Mike Widger – LB – 1970 to 1976: Shout out to Kyries Hebert, who wore number 34 with a lot of pride, but we’re going with “Crescent Street Mike”. Widger, who also wore number 41, won two Grey Cups with the Alouettes in 1970 and 1974. He was named a CFL All-Star in 1973, 1974 and 1975 and an East Division All-Star in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1975. He finished his career with the Ottawa Rough Riders.
35 – Dennis Duncan – FB – 1968 to 1970: Duncan had solid years with the Alouettes, as he rushed for 429, 1037 and 823 yards before moving on to the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1971. He was named an East Division All-Star after his second year. Things didn’t end well for him in Montreal though. According to this article in the Montreal Gazette, Duncan and slotback Bob McCarthy were both suspended by the team during the 1970 playoffs because they were “frequenting a drinking establishment that had been labeled out of bounds for the players.” The Als went on to win the 1970 Grey Cup without Duncan in the lineup. Two of my personal favourites (De’Audra Dix and Mike Vilimek) also wore 35.
36 – Larry Smith – RB – 1972 to 1980: Not only did Smith spend the good chunk of a decade wearing Alouettes colours, he also served as team president and commissioner of the CFL. The Als selected Smith with the first overall pick in the 1972 CFL Draft. He rushed for a career-high 422 yards in his second year, while his career-high in receiving came in 1975 when he had 560 yards. He won Grey Cups with the Als in 1974 and 1977.
37 – Vernon Perry – S – 1977 to 1978: Perry had a brief two-year stint with the Alouettes. He only played four games during his second year, but he had nine interceptions including a 92-yard return for a touchdown in his first season. He was a thumper at the safety position and he helped the Alouettes win the Grey Cup in 1977. Perry impressed enough during his short stint in Canada that he signed with the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1979. Fun Fact: Perry intercepted Dan Fouts in the 1979 AFC Divisional Round Playoff Game against the San Diego Chargers. By the way, Martin Bedard is another number 37 that deserves some love.
38 – Timothy Strickland – LB – 2002 to 2007: My favourite Tim Strickland moment happened in his rookie season. With the Als up two points in the Grey Cup, Strickland provided perfect coverage on Edmonton’s two-point conversion on Terry Vaughn late. The ball fell incomplete and the Als won their first title since returning to Montreal. Strickland was a CFL All-Star in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
39 – Jerald Brown – DB – 2009 to 2015: I want to show Wally Buono some love here, but Brown is our pick. Brown and Billy Parker joined the Als in 2009 and immediately made an impact at the defensive back spots. They helped Montreal win back-to-back Grey Cups. Brown had a huge interception in the fourth quarter of the 2009 Grey Cup. He was an East Division All-Star in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and he was a CFL All-Star in 2013. Brown suffered an ugly ankle injury in 2011, but was able to return in 2012.
Numbers 40 through 49 will be revealed next Saturday.
(Feature Image Credit: Montreal Alouettes)