Jeff Avery and Russ Jackson named recipients of CFL 2017 Alumni Man of the Year Award

August 4, 2017

OTTAWA-GATINEAU – Ottawa Rough Rider Alumni members Jeff Avery and Russ Jackson have been named co-winners of the CFL 2017 Alumni Man of the Year Award, Leo Ezerins, Executive Director of the CFL Alumni Association (CFLAA), announced Friday.

The CFLAA will present this prestigious award to these two outstanding Ottawa Rough Rider Alumni members during the 2017 Grey Cup Festival at the fan favorite CFL Legends Luncheon.

“During their playing careers both Jeff and Russ were heroes on and off the field,” said Ezerins, “Over the years, both have made notable contributions to the growth of the CFL and the Ottawa community.”

Ottawa Rough Rider Alumni Vice President Jim Cain is looking forward to celebrating the success of his fellow Alumni members.

“The Ottawa Grey Cup festival will feature many all-star events, but celebrating the careers of Jeff and Russ will definitely be the highlight of the week,” said Cain. “We are thrilled to share the proud Ottawa football history with football fans from around the country at the Legends Luncheon.”

For the past eight years, the CFLAA has presented the CFL Alumni Man of the Year Award.  Past winners include: Wade Miller, Paul Robson, Sam Etcheverry, Bayne Norrie, Norm Fieldgate, Don Durno, George Reed, Carm Carteri, Lui Passaglia, Michael “Pinball” Clemons and Pete Martin.

Tickets for the Legends Luncheon can be purchased at

The REDBLACKS return to action Friday night at TD Place when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 7 p.m.

Here is a closer look at Jeff Avery and Russ Jackson co-winners of the CFL 2017 Alumni Man of the Year Award.

Jeff Avery
Playing Career

  • Drafted as a territorial exemption in the 1976 CFL Draft by the Ottawa Rough Riders
  • Member of 1976 Grey Cup championship team
  • Played seven seasons (1976-1982) for the Rough Riders
  • Was a CFL East All-Star in 1977 and 1978
  • Played CIAU football for the Ottawa Gee-Gees and won the 1975 Vanier Cup.
  • In 1978 had a career best 50 catches for 767 yards
  • In 1978 also punted 54 times for a 39.4 yard average
  • Career totals caught 169 passes for 2,619 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns

Post Career

  • Has been President of the CFL Ottawa Alumni Association (CFLOAA) for the last 15 years
  • Founding member of the CFL Alumni Association (CFLAA) 9 years ago
  • Key person in setting up the CFLAA Support Fund which offers financial support to fellow Alumni and families who are experiencing a financial hardship due to a medical condition or the sudden loss of income.
  • Radio colour commentator for CFL Ottawa football games since 1988
  • Member of the University of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame

Russ Jackson
Playing Career

  • Drafted by Ottawa in the first round of the 1958 CFL draft
  • Originally signed as a defensive back, Jackson quarterbacked the Rough Riders to three Grey Cup victories (1960, 1968 and 1969 Grey Cups); Russ retired after winning those two Grey Cups in a row
  • Spent his entire 12-year CFL career with the Ottawa Rough Riders
  • Won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award in 1963, 1966, and 1969
  • A four-time winner of the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian Award (1959, 1963, 1966, 1969)
  • Six-time Eastern Conference All-Star quarterback (1962, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
  • CFL All-Star quarterback in 1966, 1968, and 1969
  • Ended his career with 24,592 passing yards, with 1,356 completions on 2,530 attempts (53.6%), 125 interceptions and 185 touchdowns
  • Gained 5,045 yards on the ground on 738 rushes, with 54 touchdowns.
  • Only Canadian-born quarterback to pass for over 20,000 yards

Post Career

  • Still a strong supporter of the CFL Ottawa Alumni Association
  • Leader in planning a 1968 and 1969 Grey Cup Championship team reunion
  • Russ Jackson’ stamp was unveiled in 2014.
  • A member of The Order of Canada
  • Inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973
  • Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975
  • Described as the best Canadian-born quarterback to play in the CFL
  • In 2006, voted #8 in TSN’s – CFL’s Top 50 players (modern era)

Photo by Scott Grant Photography

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