Toronto - At a
media conference today at Turf Lounge in downtown Toronto, CFL legend Damon
Allen announced his retirement after
a staggering career. One of the most accomplished and celebrated players
in the CFL, Allen's unprecedented 23-year career as an elite quarterback
spanned three decades and included four Grey Cup Championships, two Grey Cup
MVPs, one Grey Cup Offensive Player of the Game, one CFL All-Star nomination
and one CFL Most Outstanding Player Award.
passing yards are more than any other player in professional football, and his
11,914 rushing yards rank as the third-highest total in CFL history - just 329
yards behind his brother, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen's
career rushing total. He has played for CFL teams in Edmonton, Ottawa,
Hamilton, Memphis, B.C. and Toronto and won championships in three of those
cities. He is one of just three quarterbacks in league history to run for 1,000
yards and pass for 4,000 yards in a single season (Tracy Ham and Kerry Joseph)
- an achievement reached in 1991 with the Ottawa Rough Riders.
Damon Allen remarked,
"The game of football has given me every emotion a person can feel.
It has been a dream ride. I have given football my mind, body and soul.
When it is all said and done, I have met some incredible people. I want
to thank the fans across the Canadian Football League for supporting me, the
players in the CFL for challenging me to be the best, and the incredible
coaches in our league that continue to teach the game."
In just five seasons
in Toronto, Allen has also carved his name into club record books. He sits
second in club history in career passing yards (13,974), career attempts
(1,713) and completions (1,051), career passing touchdowns (77), and once
completed 13 consecutive passes in a game - the second-best streak in team
history. He is one of just five Argos to win the CFL's Most Outstanding Player
Award and in 2005 he became the first Argo quarterback since Doug Flutie (1997)
to earn CFL All-Star recognition.
gifts were just as evident at Cal State Fullerton where he was mentored by
acclaimed football mind Steve Mariucci. His presence turned around a
perennially weak Titan squad and led them to back-to-back PCAA titles. As a
senior, he set several single-season school records and was named First-Team
All-Conference. Allen finished 16th in Heisman voting in 1984.
Allen ends his
illustrious career holding the following CFL Regular Season records:
leading passer - 72,381 yards
leader in passing touchdowns - 394
leader in pass attempts - 9,138
leader in pass completions - 5,158
Completion - 109 yards
leader in rushing yards by a quarterback (ranks 3rd in all-time CFL rushing, by
any player) - 11,914
In celebration of
Damon Allen's career, the Toronto Argonauts will be offering a special $9
ticket to the home opener.
This limited offer will be available for one-day only on Thursday, May 29 and is
available by calling (416) 341-ARGO. Damon and his family will be
honoured by Toronto Argonauts' owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski at the July 3 home opener.
THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE'S EYES
fresh-faced Americans when we arrived in Canada so many years ago, not
knowing what to expect from this new opportunity in a country we knew little
about. But it didn't take long for us to feel accepted and welcomed by
people. We've had some awesome times and made some fantastic life-long
friends from the West to the East. Raising our family as Canadians is our
choice due to the love we' ve been shown. Football has been our family's
life. Watching Damon and supporting him through ups and downs has been
exhilarating. Thanks for the awesome ride and for allowing him to achieve
such amazing heights in his career. We are looking forward to what God
has in store for our family with great anticipation while continuing to make
this beautiful country our home."
Pro Football Hall
of Fame Running Back
"First and more
importantly as a brother, I am extremely proud of Damon and his
accomplishments. He went in his own direction, doing things his way.
When you have a younger brother who writes his own history, who has defined
himself and who has forged his name in the record books, it's an honour, a
privilege, gratifying and inspirational to be his brother. As an athlete
talking about another athlete, I've marveled at what he has been able to
accomplish. Damon and I have talked about how if you want people to
remember your name 100 years from now, you have to be extraordinary and Damon
has been beyond extraordinary. He has been a credit to the game by how he
has conducted himself, a true professional with great sportsmanship, and as far
as his athletic prowess and the numbers he has been able to accumulate, these
will stand for a long, long time. I am so proud of him on these two
levels. I couldn't be more proud of what he's done and the person he is.
Knowing Damon, whatever he embarks upon next will be pursued with the same
passion, respect and love that is necessary for greatness."
Executive (Edmonton Eskimos)
"When Damon was
a senior at Fullerton he had to decide between pro baseball and pro
football. The CFL would be something different, something less, had he not come
our way. Damon has all the attributes that coaches look for in a quarterback:
athletic ability, intelligence and leadership. If I was forced to just name one
characteristic that stands out about Damon it would be that he is a class act
in every situation, whether it be a backup quarterback, starting quarterback,
winning or losing. He is just a great person.
Anybody who has ever
spent even a half an hour of time with his mother and his father would never be
surprised at Damon's personality and character."
evidence overwhelmingly confirms that Damon is the most prolific player in pro
football history. To run for almost 12,000 yards makes him one the best rushers
ever; to pass for a world record 72,381 yards makes him arguably the best passer.
To do both and win four championships makes him iconic. While he captured the
hearts of fans across the land, donning six different jerseys, I believe the
Double Blue best defines his legend. At forty years old, he punctuated the
return to prominence of the world's most storied football team with a Grey Cup
victory and MVP. And as an Argonaut the following year, he was the league's
Most Outstanding Player at an amazing 41 years old. Brett Favre may very well
be the second best quarterback to retire this year!!!"
"For more than
two decades, Damon Allen has been a leader, a champion and an ambassador
for our league. Even more impressive than the many records he holds are the
memories and inspirations he has left with our fans from across the country.
The CFL's rich history is decorated with his story, a story that will live far
beyond his career. On behalf of the CFL, congratulations and we hope you will
continue to be involved with our game for many years to come."
GM/Vice President, Football Operations
"Damon is one of
the better athletes to have played the quarterback position in the history of
CFL football. I had the pleasure of coaching him, and winning several Grey Cups
with him. It's a real pleasure to say that I have coached Damon Allen. He's a
wonderful player and, perhaps more importantly, a wonderful family man."
always been one of the guys I've looked up to. He's a pioneer of the game and
one of the more blessed quarterbacks to ever play the game - at any level or
any league. He'll always be a legend in my mind. He helped break the colour
barrier and created a new image for the black quarterback.
An amazing thing
about Damon is that he proved he could win both early in his career and late in
his career. When he was young, he was successful running, and then as he got
older he became a very good passing quarterback."
Quarterback (Edmonton, Toronto, Baltimore, Montreal)
First CFL QB to
rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards in a single-season
"I was Damon's
rookie in 1987 in Edmonton . He took me under his wing and showed me a lot. He
set the tempo for the early part of my career and it's something I'll never forget.
I like to say that Damon had one more gene than the rest of us. He was always
so calm in the clutch - he did everything big in the playoffs. I remember, the
night before his Grey Cup appearance with B.C. in 2000, I went for dinner with
Damon and Marcus and D.A. was so relaxed. He will go down as the greatest
quarterback in CFL history, no question in my mind - the numbers don't lie.
Learning from him, playing with him and playing against him, you get to see the
man from all angles - he has and does it all."
Receiver (Winnipeg, B.C., Toronto)
On the receiving
end of the longest pass in Allen's career, 109 yards
"The one thing
I'll always remember about Damon is that he was more than a just a teammate and
friend. He was a great father, a great husband and he truly loves his family.
His presence on the football field was amazing. He was a soldier. He played
through injuries and he was a leader in every sense of the word. I'm so
grateful and thankful that I had an opportunity to play with an athlete of his
calibre. Damon is known all over North America , and to understand that you can
spend time with him away from the field is something I will cherish and never
forget. Damon, it was my pleasure. You had a great career and you are a true
hall of famer, congratulations."
Linebacker (B.C., Calgary, Saskatchewan)
second-leading tackler all-time
"Damon was a
great warrior on the field. I always respected him as a competitor. He brought
out the best in me and a lot of other players. The thing that you see in
Damon's eyes, and you don't always see in others, is determination to be a
winner. Congratulations on a tremendous career, for you will always be a true
Quarterback (Winnipeg, B.C., Edmonton, Hamilton, Calgary)
Member of the
50,000 Yard Club
mentions the name Damon Allen, those around immediately identify with the CFL.
He has been an ambassador for the game, not only for what he's done on the football
field but also what he has done in the community. He personifies the
quarterback position and every quarterback who has come since has measured
their career against his. Be it numerous achievements, the good times and the
bad times, victories and defeats - he's always handled himself with class. I've
always tried to model myself and my career after his conduct both on and off
Damon's coach at
Cal State Fullerton
Former NFL Head
Coach, now NFL Analyst
"I remember when
we recruited Damon from Lincoln High School to play at Cal State
Fullerton. He weighed all of 149 pounds. Damon soon made a name for himself; he
was no longer 'Marcus' brother'. Not only did Damon excel in the CFL, he chose
to stay there despite having the ability to play in the National Football
League. He loves living in Canada, making his home there and raising his family
there - now that's loyalty!There's no doubt in my mind that someday Damon Allen should
be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Damon, I'm really
proud of you. Not only because of your statistics and accomplishments, but
because you're a great husband, father and man of integrity."
Damon's coach at
Cal State Fullerton
"There is no
doubt in my mind, old timers or otherwise, that Damon is/was the best
quarterback in the history of North American professional football. America's
loss is Canada's gain.
I was a guest coach
in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders when I was an assistant coach for
the University of North Dakota in the 1970's. Ron Lancaster was at his peak in
Regina . I never thought in my wildest imagination that I would ever see anyone
come close to reaching Ron's level of proficiency, and then I met Damon. I was
the Head Coach at Cal State Fullerton and we recruited this 6 foot, 'a-buck
forty' passer from Lincoln High and my thinking about the quarterback position,
and Ronnie, changed forever. Damon had a god-given innate ability. He
possessed: hand-eye coordination, quick twitch muscles, explosive strength, a
big-time pain threshold, acceleration, durability, and a sixth sense to stay
out of harms way. I watched him emerge from the "slight" 6-foot,
17-year old to the greatest passer in the history of football.
As good as he was as an
athlete and quarterback, he is that and MORE as a husband, father and friend.
Sometimes we walk among giants and heroes and have no idea. Not this