Superman Answers Call To BC Hall!
December 7, 2016
Story by: Matt Baker BC Lions
Photo Courtesy: BC Lions
Although he bleeds orange through and through, Geroy Simon had donned a couple different pro football colours by the time he arrived in the Lions Den back in 2001. Many forget he suited up in ten games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the year before. There was also a brief NFL practice roster stints in Pittsburgh Steelers black and gold, the team he grew up admiring in nearby Johnstown, PA. and the familiar red, white and gold of the Kansas City Chiefs. Naturally, we asked him if he felt a little extra pressure to stand out when he first stepped on the Lions’ practice field.
“I really didn’t,” Simon admitted, when the topic was brought up. “I knew that I could go back to University to finish my degree and I knew I pretty much had a job waiting for me with Under Armour. They had just started up and I had been asked a number of times to come and work with them so I didn’t feel any pressure in that sense. I just came here wanting to give maximum effort and have an opportunity. It didn’t happen overnight, but I came in and worked my butt off for the first couple of years and showed I was capable of putting up big numbers and being a leader.”
Oh, how things may have been different if the semester wasn’t half over when he was cut by Kansas City and with all due respect to the sports apparel giant, it worked out pretty well for the man they call Superman. On Wednesday, number 81 was announced as a 2017 inductee to the BC Sports Hall of Fame, with the official ceremony taking place at the annual Banquet of Champions Dinner on April 12th. It is moments like this where Simon looks back on those early days with the club- before the two Grey Cup wins, six CFL all-star selections and setting franchise records with 14,756 receiving yards and 904 catches- and reflects on just how good things turned out.
“To be named to the BC Sports Hall of Fame is truly an honour. I never thought I would be in this position when I first got to BC. I just wanted to come score a few touchdowns and help this team win. I never thought that I would be recognized as a hall of famer, but it’s something that’s really special to me being that I live here now and spent so much of my career here.”
Simon is about to join some pretty good company: Wally Buono, Lui Passaglia, Sean Millington, Norm Fieldgate, Joe Kapp, Al Wilson and the late Bob Ackles are among the BC Lions legends enshrined in the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The 1964, 1985 and 1994 Grey Cup Championship squads are in as well.
“Those are all great names and people who not only had great careers with the BC Lions but are great in the community and that’s one thing that I have always prided myself on; not only being great on the field but doing some special things off the field and leaving a legacy. That’s my ultimate goal, to lead a legacy.
I think I helped make this a better place. I think right now we’re continuing to do that as an organization. Obviously my time here isn’t finished, but the playing career is and to have this honour is something that is really special, showing that part of my career was done the right way in helping this organization win.”
Simon deserves kudos for helping transform the Lions into one of the CFL’s model organizations from 2004 until he departed for Saskatchewan for his final season as a player in 2013. He contends that none of the accolades would have been possible without Buono arriving as GM and head coach in 2003, a year where Simon surpassed 1,000 yards in receiving for the first time.
“Before Wally came I was just another guy trying to find his way and I really got some direction once Wally and the coaching staff came here,” Simon said.
When it comes to an acceptance speech in April, the former slotback admitted it might be tough to remember everybody who played a role in his induction but a lot will be devoted to his wife Tracy, sons Gervon, Jaden, Jordan and daughter Genevie.
Besides Buono, Simon also mentioned owner David Braley plus former teammates Dave Dickenson, Jason Clermont and Ryan Thelwell as those who all made his success on the football field possible.
As for his best moment in Lions orange? Time and time again, he has looked back at that first Grey Cup title in 2006; which was won by arguably the greatest Lions squad of all-time.
“We had lost the previous two years (Grey Cup in 2004, Western Final in 2005) so winning it really was one of those moments where I will never forget. It was freezing cold in Winnipeg and I had some family and friends come out to visit so I would say that would be the first thing that comes to mind as a big moment in my career.”
Superman in a nutshell: putting team success before individual success. We hope you enjoyed his time on the field because there will never be another Lions player like him. Next stop: Hamilton and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.