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Bill Symons
Date of birth: June 14, 1943 (1943-06-14) (age 66)
Place of birth: United States Nucla, Colorado, U.S.
Career information
Position(s): Running back
College: Colorado
NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 6 / Pick 80
(By the Green Bay Packers)
 As player:
BC Lions
Toronto Argonauts
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star: 1968, 1970
Awards: 1968 CFL MOP
1970 Jeff Russel Trophy
Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Bill Symons, born in Nucla, Colorado, is a former professional Canadian football running back with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.


College football career

Symons played for the University of Colorado Buffaloes between 1962 and 1964. He was a versatile player, running, leading the team in receptions, punt returns and kickoff returns, and doing some punting.

Professional football career

In 1965, Symons was drafted by the NFL's Green Bay Packers in the 6th round (80th overall) and by the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs in the 20th round (157 overall). He attended two Green Bay training camps, and almost made the team, but an injury led Vince Lombardi to cut him.

The BC Lions took a chance on Symons in 1966. He only played 10 games, and most were at the defensive safety position, and rushed for only 20 yards, as the Lions were not convinced his knee injury had fully healed. At the end of the seasons the Lions were eager to get the rights to (the eventual CFL great) Jim Young. Bill Symons was the second player in the trade that also sent all-star defensive lineman Dick Fouts to the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for Young.

Toronto, with their new head coach Leo Cahill, was determined to turn their losing ways around, and in 1967, Symons was given a chance. He did not disappoint, picking up 349 yards rushing and positioning himself as a starter.

Everything came together in 1968, when Symons rushed for 1,107 yards. He was the first Boatman, ever, to top the 1,000 yard plateau. Added to this record was his CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award, again a first for any Double Blue player, and a CFL All-Star at running back. The only thing that was missing was a trip to the Grey Cup, something that all Argonaut fans craved (waiting since 1952). Additionally, Symons turned down an offer from the NFL's Denver Broncos (in his home state) to stay in Toronto.

The trip to the Grey Cup came in 1971. Symons just missed another 1,000 yard season twice, with 905 yards in 1969 and 908 in 1970, as injuries just held him back. Then in 1971 Cahill decided to go with a new flashy star running back, Leon "X-ray" McQuay, Symons unhesitatingly turned to being a great blocking back, still gaining 418 yards in the bargain. Unfortunately, their trip to the 59th Grey Cup ended in classic heartbreak, as the very same star, Leon McQuay, fumbled the ball deep in Calgary territory in the final minutes to lose the game.

Being a blocking back, Symons' final two season saw reduced statistics, as he rushed for 235 yards in 1972 and 358 in 1973.

Post football career, honours & awards

Symons called it quits after 1973 to donate more time to his successful AFA Forest Products company. Symons also has a farm.

Symons was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Peter Liske
CFL's Most Outstanding Player
Succeeded by
Russ Jackson


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