Geroy Simon among CFL's Greatest Receivers of all Time?

Dan NoonCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2008

It might be the most frequently used name in the CFL, but only one player has it and defensive backs around the league have grown tired of it.

That name is Geroy Simon.

The veteran slotback for the B.C. Lions is already within striking distance of Jim Young's all-time team record of 65 touchdown receptions and is three yards shy of his team record for receiving yards.

With his consistency and productivity over the last decade with the Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Simon is already drawing league-wide consideration as the best receiver of his era. That's certainly news to Simon, who is currently 13th on the CFL's all-time receiving list.

"This is a league with a bunch of guys who have come before me and did some special things," he told TSN this week. "I don't know if I can put myself in the same category as those guys."

With 630 receptions, 10,291 yards, and 71 touchdowns in 10 CFL seasons, Simon currently sits in sixth place among receivers over the past 20 years. And "those guys" that Simon respectfully refers to are the two men at the top of the list—Allen Pitts and Milt Stegall.

Even if Simon won't compare himself to the two Canadian football legends, those close to both players say that he's right up there with them.

"Well, definitely of his generation," explained Lions head coach Wally Buono, who coached Pitts in Calgary. "He's an outstanding player, and as all those kind of players are, they're marked men and are still very productive.

"I think Allen's physical stature had a lot to do with his success. Geroy is a very intelligent player and probably has a lot more speed than people give him credit for."  

But is he as good as Pitts was?

"I don't want to say that he's as good as (Allen)," said Buono. "They're both very good football players and have both been very productive—and Geroy still has productive years ahead of him."

Once he's healthy, Stegall—second on the all-time receiving list—will quickly pass Pitts as the leader. He mentored Simon during their days in Winnipeg and certainly sees the similarities.

"He's been consistent," Stegall told TSN. "To talk about great receivers you have to be consistent and since 2002 and 2003 he's been consistent. So you definitely have to put him in that argument about the greatest receivers.

"And the way he's going, he's going to continue doing that, so he's definitely with the greatest receivers of all time."

And at just 32 years of age, Simon is showing no signs of slowing down. His past five seasons are as dominant a stretch as the CFL has ever seen, as he's averaging close to 1,600 yards a season. If he stays healthy, it puts Simon on pace to threaten the all-time receiving mark in 2010.