PLESS, WILLIE (Elected as a Player, October 1, 2005.)

Willie Pless played 250 regular-season games with four different teams - primarily the Edmonton Eskimos - and made 11 CFL All-star teams before retiring in 1999 as the League's all-time leading tackler.

A 5-foot-11, 210-pound middle linebacker from the University of Kansas, Pless made 1,241 defensive tackles during his 14-year CFL career. Five times he led the League and seven times he had more than 100 defensive tackles. He also had 84 quarterback sacks, 39 interceptions, 39 fumble recoveries, played in 18 playoff games and three Grey Cups.

Pless joined the Toronto Argonauts in 1986. After four years with Toronto, including a Grey Cup appearance in 1987 and another All-Star campaign in 1988, he was one of six Argonauts traded to the B.C. Lions for quarterback Matt Dunigan. Pless spent only one season in B.C., earning his third nod as a division and CFL All-Star plus a nomination as the Lions' outstanding player, before signing with Edmonton as a free agent.

During eight seasons (1991-1999) in Edmonton he ranged all over the field, setting Eskimos records with 813 all-time defensive tackles, 117 tackles in one season (1998) and four times tied the team mark of 12 defensive tackles in one game. Pless won numerous awards and honours throughout his tenure as an Eskimo.

As a free agent he joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1999, recording a 102-tackle campaign and being named their outstanding defensive player and a division All-Star during his final season. He rejoined the Eskimos for a symbolic game in the 2000 preseason.  Pless, who was born Feb. 21, 1964, in Anniston, Alabama, was enshrined last year in the Edmonton Eskimo Wall of Honour.


Awards and Honours:

 CFL outstanding defensive player: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997

 West Division outstanding defensive player: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997

 East Division outstanding rookie: 1986

 CFL All-Star: 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998

 East Division All-Star: 1986, 1988

 West Division All-Star: 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

 North Division All-star: 1995

 B.C. Lions outstanding player: 1990

 Edmonton Eskimos outstanding player: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996

 Toronto Argonauts outstanding defensive player: 1986, 1988

 B.C. Lions outstanding defensive player: 1990

 Edmonton Eskimos outstanding defensive player: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995,

    1996, 1997

 Saskatchewan Roughriders outstanding defensive player: 1999

 Toronto Argonauts outstanding rookie: 1986

 Grey Cup participation: 1987, 1993, 1996

 Grey Cup victories: 1993


Text Source: www.cfl.ca

Updated and edited October 2, 2005.