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CFL’s greatest Canadian QB, Russ Jackson is honoured

CFL’s greatest Canadian QB, Russ Jackson is honoured

At long last CFL Hall-of-Famer Russ Jackson received local recognition with the dedication of a football field named for him at William Connell Park on the West Mountain. At 85-years-old, Jackson is the greatest Canadian quarterback in the history of the CFL which pretty much discourages Canadians from playing the quarterback position.

As a student at Westdale Secondary School and McMaster, he was the record-setting quarterback, an exceptional basketball player and high achieving student. At Mac, he decided against participating in the Rhodes Scholarship process for a chance to turn pro with the Ottawa Rough Riders, who drafted him first in the 1958 CFL draft. Jackson finished his 12-year career with 1341 completed passes (53%) for 23 341 yards and 184 touchdowns; he also rushed for 5045 yards while scoring 55 touchdowns and 330 points. In his 12 seasons in Ottawa, he led the team to three Grey Cups, was named an All-Star nine times and won handfuls of Outstanding Canadian and Most Valuable Player awards.

While playing, he also was a teacher, serving as head of mathematics at an Ottawa-area high school while playing for the Rough Riders. When his athletic career ended, it was back to the classroom, serving as vice-principal and principal at high schools in Ottawa, Mississauga and Brampton. With his retirement from teaching, he returned to the Hamilton area. Russ Jackson has been inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada, into Canada’s Walk of Fame, awarded an honorary doctoral degree from McMaster and welcomed into the CFL, Canadian and Ontario Sports Halls of Fame. Jackson was also a colour commentator for CFL games for many years.

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