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TrueBlue4ever

The MBB All-Time Blue Bomber team: (C) Dual Threat Returners

The MBB All-time Blue Bomber Team: (C) Dual Threat Returners (choose 2)  

32 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Who are the greatest all-around returners in Blue Bomber history? (choose 2)

    • Eric Blount
      4
    • Gerry James
      2
    • James Jefferson
      2
    • Albert Johnson III
      17
    • Jovon Johnson
      7
    • Charles Roberts
      12
    • Keith Stokes
      12
    • Troy Stoudermire
      0
    • Demond Washington
      1

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  • Poll closed on 02/28/19 at 05:59 AM

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Choose two. Use whatever criteria you wish but remember that these two will be compared against the punt returner champion and the kick returner champion to assign the greatest punt and kick returners in club history, so picking one who excelled in each area from this list may prove to be the best approach. Here are the bios:

All-star recognition for returners began in 1986

Special Teams Player of the Year first awarded in 1999

Order of stats: returns-yards-average-long-TD

 

Eric Blount - 37 games in 3 seasons (1998, 2001-02), PR career: 80-1055-13.2-92-1, best: 78-1051-13.5 (all 1998), KR career: 84-2112-22.4-96-2, best: 64-1695-26.5 (all 1998), MFG career: 7-161-23.0-52-0, best: 4-132-33.0 (all 1998), led CFL in punt return yards and average and kick return yards and average (1998), divisional and CFL all-star (1998), team nominee for Most Outstanding Player (1998), Grey Cup appearance (2001), #1 club all-time leader in single season punt return yards (1051 in 1998) and kick return yards (1695 in 1998), #2 club all-time in single season kick returns (64 in 1998) and single season punt return average (13.5 in 1998), club records for longest punt return (92 yards), single season and career kick return TDs (2, both in 1998), then-CFL record for single season kick return yards in 1998 (now #3 all-time)

Gerry James – 135 games in 11 seasons (1952-62), PR career: 104-950-9.1-27-0, best: 52-517-9.9 (all 1952), KR career: 61-1463-24.0-55-0, best: 18 (1955)-483-28.4 (1954)-24.8, led CFL in punt return yards (1952), CFL Most Outstanding Canadian player (1954, 57), CFL Hall of Fame, 7 Grey Cup appearances (1950, 53, 57-59, 61, 62), 4-time Grey Cup champion (1958, 59, 61, 62)

James Jefferson – 49 games in 3 seasons (1986-88), PR career: 119-1138-9.6-76-3, best: 71-650 (both 1988)-9.4 (1986), KR career: 32-757-23.7-94-1, best: 28-666-23.8 (all 1988), MFG career: 9-143-15.9-45-0, best: 9-143-15.9 (all 1988), Grey Cup appearance and champion (1988)

Albert Johnson III - 49 games in 3 seasons (2000, 2006-07), PR career: 233-1922-8.2-59-0, best: 85-810-9.5 (all 2006), KR career: 150-3282-21.9-96-1, best: 61-1506-24.7 (all 2000), MFG career: 16-619-38.7-122-1, best: 8 (2007)-277-69.2 (both 2000), team nominee for Outstanding Special Teams Player (2006), CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player (2000), CFL Rookie of the Year (2000), 2-time divisional and CFL all-star (2000, 06), Grey Cup appearance (2007), led CFL in kick return yards in 2000, led CFL in punt return yards in 2006, #5 CFL all-time in single season kick return yards (1506 in 2000), #4 club all-time in single season punt returns (85 in 2000), #2 club all-time in career kick returns, career kick return yards, single season kick return yards and single game kick return yards (198), club record for kick returns in one game (9)

Jovon Johnson – 107 games in 6 seasons (2008-13), PR career: 315-2934-9.3-83-3, best: 90-957 (2010)-11.0 (2012), KR career: 57-1276-22.4-54-0, best: 44-1049-23.8 (all 2009), MFG career: 23-704-30.6-118-1, best: 7 (2011)-203-67.7 (both 2009), 3-time team nominee for Outstanding Special Teams Player (2009-11), Grey Cup appearance (2011), #1 club all-time leader in career punt return yards, #3 club all-time in career punt returns, #2 club all-time in single season punt returns and yards (90-957 in 2010), club records for single game kick returns and yards (9-210 in 2009)

Charles Roberts - 131 games in 8 seasons (2001-08), PR career: 182-1735-9.5-75-2, best: 82-782 (both 2001)-10.8 (2002), KR career: 103-2151-20.9-50-0, best: 45-981-21.8 (all 2001), MFG career: 10-314-31.4-72-0, best: 5 (2002)-155-38.8 (both 2003), led CFL in punt return yards (2001), CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player (2001), West Division Most Outstanding Rookie (2001), divisional, CFL and CFLPA all-star (2001), 2 Grey Cup appearances (2001, 07), CFL Hall of Fame

Keith Stokes - 37 games in 3 seasons (2004-05, 07), PR career: 176-1755-10.0-83-5, best: 80-949-11.9 (all 2004)-11.0, KR career: 108-2257-20.9-108-1, best: 56-1112 (both 2004)-24.6 (2007), MFG career: 18-448-24.9-75-0, best: 9 (2004)-185-37.0 (both 2005), CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player (2004), divisional, CFL and CFLPA all-star (2004), led CFL in punt return (949) and kick return yards (1112 – both in 2004), #3 club all-time in single season punt return yards, club records for single game punt return yards (154 in 2004), single season punt return TDs (4 in 2004), and career punt return TDs (5), #4 club all-time in career punt return average, #3 club all-time in single season kick returns, 4th longest kick return in club history

Troy Stoudermire – 21 games in 2 seasons (2014-15), PR career: 105-1151-11.0-78-2, best: 67-677 (both 2015)-12.5 (2014), KR career: 75-1652-22.0-51-0, best: 47-963 (both 2015)-24.6 (2014), MFG career: 1-29-29.0-29-0 (2014), led CFL in punt return average (2014), team nominee Outstanding Special Teams Player (2015), #3 club all-time in single season punt return average, #1 club all-time in career punt return average

Demond Washington - 67 games in 4 seasons (2012-15), PR career: 78-786-10.1-82-2, best: 57-588 (both 2012)-11.9 (2013), KR career: 84-1873-22.3-96-1, best: 66-1423-21.6 (all 2012), MFG career: 4-52-13.0-19-0, best: 3-35-11.7 (all 2014), single season club record for kick returns (66 in 2012), #3 club all-time in kick return yards in one season, #3 club all-time in career punt return average

 

 

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9 hours ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Some real options here, and no clear cut favourite as either the best punt or kick returners from this group, or best all-around. I will stew on this a bit before offering one man's take.

I only chose one (didn't read fully before clicking!) and chose AB3....can you give another vote to Charles Roberts, please? It's undoubtedly those two, for me....

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1 hour ago, Noeller said:

I only chose one (didn't read fully before clicking!) and chose AB3....can you give another vote to Charles Roberts, please? It's undoubtedly those two, for me....

Did you mean AJ3 or Arland Bruce, who I did not include?

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12 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Did you mean AJ3 or Arland Bruce, who I did not include?

sorry! AJ3! :)  I gave a vote to AJ3 already...just wanted to make sure Charlie got my 2nd vote!

Edited by Noeller

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6 hours ago, johnzo said:

Gotta be Jovon Johnson. Guy sparked so many rallies during his stretch here ... even during the darkest times there was always hope when he set up for a return.

I agree, just look at examples of him when he ran 3000 yards on the punt return against Montreal or when he had the huge return against BC in that crazy comeback at Thanksgiving.

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5 hours ago, Nolby said:

I agree, just look at examples of him when he ran 3000 yards on the punt return against Montreal or when he had the huge return against BC in that crazy comeback at Thanksgiving.

Definition of having a long day: 3000 yards of running on one punt return.

Edited by WBBFanWest

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I feel like blink, flight87, and stokes are the 3 best. Stokes the biggest threat to score, but the biggest boom or bust guy too. Blink was the most consistent to get extra yards, and AJ3 was the best all-round return man. 

 If aj3 would have had a career the length of blinks up here, he might be one of the best multi threats ever. 

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44 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

Sorry folks, this poll should not be closed yet. I’m having trouble with the editing. Maybe a mod could help?  Supposed to be open until the end of the day Wednesday. 

Fixed

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One man’s take:

This is a tricky one to sort out. The numbers show that most had one or two big years but flamed out quickly, but those big seasons were stronger than the work of those who played longer and had larger career numbers. Let’s try to sort them out one by one.

Washington - strong punt return average, but really better as a kick returner. One monster season, and being on a weaker team that afforded him the chance to return a larger number of kicks (the most in any one season ever, in fact) inflates those numbers. Not at the top of either category for me.

Stoudermire - one stellar season where he was the best in the league, but too small a body of work to top my list. 

Jefferson - reliable guy but not the best all time in either punt or kick returns. 

That gets me down to six who each have merit for one of the two spots. 

Roberts - as with his work as a running back, he made tons of people miss when they tried to tackle him, and could turn nothing into a 10-15 yard gain on any punt return, and always seemed dangerous when he caught the ball. However, he did not possess the breakaway speed that others had (the anti-Milt, he could actually be run down from behind - Stegall once said Charlie would get tired if he broke one for 50 yards, and needed a 20 yard head start to not get chased down). That lack of pure speed is reflected in a lower kick return average than others. His special teams award in '01 seemed like a consolation prize for not winning rookie of the year. Then the club stopped using him to return kicks and focussed on his amazing halfback skills. He will challenge in another category, so I will decline to vote him in here.

Blount - the single greatest year any returner has had in club history, maybe league history. Was the club MVP in that abysmal 1998 season almost solely as a returner, and is #3 all time in CFL history in single season total yardage. Again, the lousy team gave him more chances to return kicks and pile up yards, but that 26.5 yard average is an obscene number (22 is a pretty solid number, 24 is usually league leading). I remember him better as a kick returner than punt returner, but again his 13.5 yard average that year is a staggering number when 9-10 yards is the norm for returns, and 11 often tops the league. Where most of the dual threats did both well but excelled more in one area, he was brilliant at both. Only the lack of longevity keeps him out of the top spot, but I would rank him as #2 or #3 in each area behind someone else in this group of 9.

James - I feel like he is being woefully overlooked in this poll due to recency bias, and remember the lack of blocking on punt returns in his era and how gaudy that 9.1 return average now looks in comparison. Longer career leads to larger career numbers, but fewer touches in any one season gives him smaller one year totals. I guess his legacy is more running back than returner, so like Roberts I will ponder him in that category.

AJ3 - When the media bestows upon you a nickname, they feel the need to label your greatness, like a brand name. So “Flight 87” was born. Still holds the record for all purpose yards in one game with a mind-blowing 474 in a wild night in Edmonton (we still lost that game), and of the two skills his work as a kick returner was superior. Hit the holes fast, and one miss and he was gone. He gets my vote as the best kick returner in this group (just edging out Blount) and one of my two selections for the final run-off. 

Stokes - For me, the mark of a great returner isn’t just the ability to get positive yards and have a decent average, it is the threat to take one to the house and put fear in the other team when they kick to you. Stokes was the master of that in his time here. I think it is accurate what was said by wbbfan about his boom or bust potential, but hard to overlook those 4 TDs in one season, and 5 in his career. And despite his prowess being more notable in punt returns, he is the only Bomber in history with 2 consecutive 1000+ yard kick return seasons. Bonus points for being brought back in 2007 when the club had no return threat and, despite all the weight he put on, taking one to the house in the East Final to upset the Argos and get the team into the Grey Cup. A couple more seasons and he would be a lock as the punt returner half of my duo in this poll. 

Jovon Johnson - the all time Bomber leader in career punt return yardage, and not only was he a threat to break one, he had a knack for doing it at the most crucial time. The only player to get 3 straight nods as the special team player of the year for the club. So down to him and Stokes for my second vote. 5 career TDs vs most career yards? 3 straight special team player nods vs overall skills as a kick returner too? Such a coin flip, but in the end, Johnson was a defensive back who also returned kicks, while Stokes was a return specialist first who moonlighted as a receiver. Stokes’ return abilities was the reason he had a roster spot, and at his best he outshoneJohnson’s best. Splitting the thinnest of hairs, I cast my second vote to Stokes, but there are maybe 5 here who would not be the wrong choice. 

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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On ‎23‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 12:19 PM, Noeller said:

voting is going as it should, so far...

I’m encouraged that Stokes is getting the votes he has, and a bit surprised by Roberts’ total. The club abandoned the idea of him as a returner by his 3rd year here and he was replaced by Stokes. 

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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31 minutes ago, TrueBlue4ever said:

I’m encouraged that Stokes is getting the votes he has, and a bit surprised by Roberts’ total. The club abandoned the idea of his as a returner by his 3rd year here and was replaced by Stokes. 

But, again, this isn't just about returning, right? It was "best multi purpose threat" kinda thing... 

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2 hours ago, Noeller said:

But, again, this isn't just about returning, right? It was "best multi purpose threat" kinda thing... 

No, this poll is just about returners. I did not want to have one poll with 24 candidates, especially since there are two positions to vote for. And rather than repeat some players in both polls and guess who should belong in which category, especially the 9 here who would arguably go in both sides, I thought picking one from those who solely returned punts, one from those who solely return kickoffs, and a pair from those who did both tasks, and then did a final comparison from those winners was the best way. But this is NOT about anything more than the ability to return. 

Edited by TrueBlue4ever

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Jovon Johnson gets my vote for the sole reason that his return was part of one of the best Bomber comebacks I ever witnessed on Thanksgiving weekend 2010. My girlfriend and I ended up going to the game on a whim, and after that ended up getting season tickets the following year in 2011 and haven't looked back since. Just a fantastic player all-round.

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