Allen headlines CFL Hall of Fame class

David Braley (left) and Damon Allen headline the 2012 CFL Hall of Fame class. (argos)

Damon Allen is further cementing his place in CFL history as he heads into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Allen, along with receiving-yards leader Milt Stegall, headlined the 2012 induction class that was released at halftime of the game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.

Players also named for enshrinement were Eric Lapointe, Jack Abendschan and Tyrone Jones, who passed away in June, 2008.

Additionally, Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions’ owner David Braley was named as one of this year’s Hall of Fame builders, along with former Calgary Dinos head coach Peter Connellan.

It’s probably not a surprise to most people that Allen, a three-time Grey Cup MVP, is heading into Canada’s football shrine, as the 48-year old spent 23 seasons in the CFL before retiring after the 2007 season as the leader in passing yards (72,381), touchdowns (394) and completions (5,158).

While Anthony Calvillo, the Alouettes’ quarterback, surpassed all three of these records this season, there is one stat that no one is close to beating.

Allen will remain in the record books as the top rushing quarterback in CFL history, running for 11,920 yards during his memorable career. He also sits third in overall rushing behind just Mike Pringle (16,425) and George Reed (16,116).

“He wasn’t your typical quarterback,” Stegall said. “There were games where he would beat us with his legs and he was smooth and fluid with it.

“He didn’t celebrate, he didn’t throw it in your face, he would just score his touchdowns and go about his way.”

Braley a two-team owner

Braley, 70, entered the CFL as an owner of the Tiger-Cats from 1987-90, and then returned in 1997 as the owner of the Lions. He bought the Argos last year, becoming the first person in league history to own two separate teams at the same time.

Stegall, who has now become a CFL analyst for TSN, spent all of his 14 seasons in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The 41-year old retired after the 2008 season, but still holds the record for most receiving yards (15,153) and touchdowns (147), and is a nine-time all-star who has a street in Winnipeg named after him.

“Milt used to be on the field an hour and a half before [the game] putting in the work,” Allen said. “Not only was he a great receiver and could run and could do all these things, but he read coverage like he was supposed to.

“He always prepared himself.”

Jones spent 10 years as a linebacker in the CFL where, although their paths didn’t cross, he too spent the majority of his career in Winnipeg.

Despite retiring after the 1991 season, he remains the Bombers’ all-time sack leader with 98 and was named the league’s top defensive player in 1985 and won two Grey Cups. Jones was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005 and died at the age of 46.

Many people may not remember watching Abendschan play, seeing that he retired in 1975, but the five-time All-Canadian is known for being one of the last of a dying breed of kickers who also played another position.

The entirety of his 11-year career in the CFL was spent as both a kicker and offensive guard for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Lapointe, who is the youngest inductee at just 37, will be enshrined as a Canadian university player. He was named Canadian university football’s top rookie in 1995 and captured the Hec Crighton Trophy twice as most outstanding player.