2013 CFHOF Profile: Earl Winfield

earl_winfield_featured

CFL players are a unique breed as they are not necessarily the prototypical football players that many would think of when building a team. It is widely known that many players use the CFL to help launch or relaunch their careers. It is a place for those players who never could quite make it to the NFL to continue to play the game they love. As a result the CFL gets to enjoy a number of great players that do not fit into any box. These players can be the most exciting players in all of football as they do not just do one thing. They are the players who can make an impact whenever the ball gets near them without having to be on offence or defence alone. The new breed of this player is Chad Owens who has become the king of all-purpose yards breaking the record for most all-purpose yards in a season last year. Owens is just the latest of these players though with players like Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Henry “Gizmo” Williams leading the way for the new generation of players. There are countless others who have led the way for the multi-purpose players including one who will be going into the Hall of Fame this year. Earl “The Pearl” Winfield would be one of these players as he would electrify Hamilton during his career as one of the best multi-purpose athletes to put on the black and yellow. The CFL fans love these players as they become favorites easily as they have the potential to break out a game at any moment. These type of players are the perfect example of the CFL player who may not be the perfect match for the NFL but are given a chance to do what they do in Canada.

Earl Winfield was one of the best at proving what he was capable of in Canada becoming one of the biggest threats in the CFL. Winfield would attend North Carolina where he would be the go to guy for Kevin Anthony, who is in the top ten of every major category. While in North Carolina Winfield would become one of the best receivers in the ACC. With the great college career Winfield would get a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks. Like many players who end up in the CFL the tryout with the Seahawks would not pan out and Winfield would move to Canada where he would join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It wouldn’t take long for Winfield to make an impression for the Ti-Cats as he would enter the record books in his second year in the CFL. Winfield would become the first player in the CFL to score a TD in three different ways when he would score on a punt return, kick return, and a pass reception. It would establish the type of player that Winfield was about to become as he would be someone who could score from anywhere. After only two years in the CFL, Winfield would earn his first Eastern Division MOP after scoring 13 TDs in one season, a CFL record at the time. The man affectionately known as The Pearl would continue to lead the Ti-Cats as he would be the player that they would look to for a go-ahead TD. Whether it was on a punt return, kick return, from the backfield, or out on the side Winfield was always a threat. No matter what other teams would do Winfield would be the man who every team would have to watch in every game. He would even do this when people would believe that he was done. After the 1996 season Winfield would retire but without him the Ti-Cats would struggle and Winfield was asked to come back. Without a training camp Winfield would still lead the Tabies and would retire at the end of the season again. When he left the game, Winfield would sit at the top of the CFL with 87 career TDs and 10,119 receiving yards. Now Winfield will enter the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as another representative of the multi-purpose athlete that has marked the CFL year after year and will be immortalized as one of the best to do it in the league.

 

Earl Winfield, WR (1987-1997)
573 rec
10,119 yds
17.7 avg
75 TD
10 rsh
67 rsh yds
21 rsh TDs
– 2-Time CFL All-Star (1988, 1995)
– 2-Time CFL East All-Star (1988, 1994)
– 1989 CFL West All-Star
– First Player in CFL history to score a TD three different ways

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