We’re well into the back half of this “best Alouettes by jersey number” series. It’s a lot of work and research. There have been some tough calls and some decisions that have been a lot easier. I’ve had to make decisions that have gone against friends (those have made for interesting conversations).
I’ve also been getting more and more private and public messages from former players trying to make a case for themselves. I love that.
There’s so many great players that have come through this organization since 1946, and getting to learn and reminisce has been so rewarding.
If you missed numbers 00 through 59, you find them right here:
Part One — Numbers 00 through 9
Part Two — Numbers 10 through 19
Part Three — Numbers 20 through 29
Part Four — Numbers 30 through 39
Part Five — Numbers 40 through 49
Part Six — Numbers 50 through 59
Here’s Part 7:
60 – Tex Coulter – OL – 1953 to 1956: Coulter was part of the Alouettes organization before the CFL even existed (they were in the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union back then). He was named the league’s top offensive lineman in 1955 and he was an All-Star in 1953, 1954 and 1955. Coulter was drafted seventh overall by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1947 NFL Draft. He spent the first six years of his professional career with the New York Giants before coming up to Montreal. Glenn Douglas, Bill Hudson, Mike Sutherland and Andrew Woodruff also wore no. 60 with the Als.
61 – Gordon Judges – DT – 1968, 1970 to 1980, 1982: Judges wore a few different numbers while playing with the Als/Concordes. He started with 61, moved on to 75 and then 57. He spent most of his time with 75 (he wasn’t going to make the list as the best no.75), but he was wearing 61 when he was named a CFL East Division All-Star in 1973. Judges played in six Grey Cup games and won three of them (1970, 1974 and 1977). He was Montreal’s most valuable player in 1978. Ed Nickla, Doug Payton and Luke Fritz also wore no. 61 for the Als.
62 – Steve Smear – DE/LB – 1970 to 1972: Smear spent three seasons in Montreal and had quite a bit of success. He helped the Als win the Grey Cup in his rookie season and he was named an East Division and CFL All-Star during that year, too. He was also on the East All-Star team the following year. Smear was traded to the Argonauts ahead of the 1973 season for financial reasons. According to this article by Ted Blackman in the Montreal Gazette, Smear, who made $28,000 in his final year with the Als, was looking for $30,000 per year. “I can appreciate (owner) Sam Berger’s position,” Smear said after the trade. “He’s been losing money and it’s going to stop somewhere. I wasn’t asking for the world, just about what I was making last year. Heck, I wanted to sign for three years at the same money each year. No bonuses.”
63 – Pierre Desjardins – G/T – 1966 to 1971: Desjardins joined the Alouettes after a stint at the University of Wyoming. He wasn’t the biggest offensive lineman ever (6-feet, 240 pounds), but he found a way to get the job done more often than not. He was co-captain of the Als along with Larry Fairholm when the team won the 1970 Grey Cup. His number 63 is retired by the organization. Here’s a great interview the Als did with Desjardins a couple of years ago.
64 – Glen Weir – DT – 1972 to 1984: Weir played for both the Als and the Concordes throughout his career. Until Bryan Chiu passed him in 2009, Weir was the franchise’s leader in games played, with 203. He was an East Division All-Star in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1982 and was a CFL All-Star in 1975 and 1977. In 1977, he also was named the top defensive player in the East Division and he was named the defensive M.V.P. of the Grey Cup. Weir won two Grey Cups with the Als and he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Ryan Bomben and Jackie Simpson were two other quality players that wore no. 64.
65 – Ed George – G/T – 1970 to 1974: After playing his college football at Wake Forest, George was a fourth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1970. Instead of going to the NFL, he opted to sign with the Alouettes. George played both guard and tackle during his time with the Als. He was an East Division All-Star every year from 1970 to 1974 and he was a CFL All-Star from 1971 through 1974. He was named CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 1974. George went on to play for the Baltimore Colts (1975), the Philadelphia Eagles (1976 – 1978) and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1979 – 1980). He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Paul Lambert, who also played for Montreal and Hamilton, also wore no. 65 with great pride. Miles Gorrell also had strong years with the Concordes wearing no. 65.
66 – Neal Fort – OT – 1996 to 2004: Fort played with the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons in the NFL before making the leap to the CFL with the Baltimore Stallions in 1994 and 1995. He then moved to Montreal with the team in 1996. Fort was a fixture at right tackle during his time with the Alouettes. He was an East Division All-Star with the Als in 1996, 1997 and 2003, and he was a CFL All-Star in 1995 (with Baltimore) and 1997. He won two Grey Cups during his career (one with Baltimore and one with Montreal).
67 – Dan Yochum – OT – 1972 to 1980: Yochum played college football at Syracuse University and was eventually drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of 1972 NFL Draft. Instead of going to the NFL, he opted to sign with the Als. Yochum won Grey Cups with. Montreal in 1974 and 1977. He was also an East Division All-Star with the Alouettes from 1973 through 1979. He was a CFL All-Star from 1975 through 1978. Yochum was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2004. I also want to give Dave Mudge a shout out for being another solid no. 67.
68 – Bryan Chiu – C – 1997 to 2009: The Als drafted Chiu out of Washington State in the second round of the 1996 CFL Draft. He went on to play over 200 games with the team and he also helped them win two Grey Cups (2002 and 2009). He was an East All-Star every year from 2000 through 2006 and in 2008 and 2009. He was a CFL All-Star ever year from 2000 through. 2005 and then again in 2008. He was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2002. Versatile offensive lineman Michael Ola, who also wore no. 68 with the Als, has gone on to have a very productive career in the NFL.
69 – Eric Wilson – OL/DT – 2007 to 2011: In my opinion, Wilson is one of the most underrated interior defensive linemen in franchise history. He wasn’t flashy, but he always gave his team a good push up the middle. Wilson was an important piece of the Als teams that won back-to-back Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010. “Eric Wilson was one of the true leaders on our football team,” former Als head coach Marc Trestman when Wilson announced his retirement in 2012. “His toughness, his courage and his highly efficient play resonated during his time with us. He was an integral part of our team’s success and championships over the past years.”
Numbers 70 through 79 will be revealed next weekend.
(Feature Image Credit: Canadian Press)