Chris Schultz and John Priestner both were inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Fitting, since the two gridiron stars got their start banging heads on the high school fields of Burlington – Schultz as a lineman with Aldershot and Priestner a linebacker at Nelson.
Fate, however, prevented them from facing each other as pros in the Canadian Football League more than just a couple of times. Schultz made his debut with the Toronto Argonauts in 1986, the same season the Hamilton Tiger-Cats released Priestner early in the summer.
Schultz died of a heart attack earlier this week at the age of 61.
Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys after a college career at the University of Arizona, Schultz played 21 games in the NFL from 1983 to 1985 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry before returning home to play for the Argonauts in 1986.
He played for Toronto from 1986 to 1994, was named a CFL all-star twice (1987 and 1988) and won a Grey Cup championship in 1991.
After retiring Schultz spent 20 years as a sportscaster for TSN.
Roy Moore coached the Aldershot team that upset Nelson to win the city championship on a muddy field in 1978, Chris’ last year in high school and after Priestner had graduated.
“Mike Gray kicked a last-minute field goal at Nelson Stadium and we won 4-2,” Moore recalled. “Doug Mitchell, their coach, was really upset.”
“At Aldershot, Chris was a very average lineman – tall and gangly, built something like a pencil,” Moore said. “But he was a student of the game, always asking questions and waiting around after practice to sit and talk to the coaches.
“In high school he was teased a lot when he said he was going to get a scholarship and play in the NFL. I actually played the devil’s advocate and tried to persuade him not to go to the U.S. But something he taught me is that you should never underestimate the power of somebody who says, ‘I’m going to make this happen’,”
“He had a football career so big it included both Canada’s Grey Cup and America’s Team,” said CFL President Randy Ambrosie.
“His large heart was so clearly on display in his tireless work on behalf of food banks. His passing leaves a giant-sized hole in the CFL Family.”
Story by By DENIS GIBBONS