Old pals Walls and Reid enter Bombers HoF together

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It’s rather fitting that Gavin Walls and Fred Reid are getting inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame at the same time.

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It’s rather fitting that Gavin Walls and Fred Reid are getting inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame at the same time.

When Reid first arrived in Winnipeg in 2007 as a CFL newcomer, Walls, a third-year defensive end, took the running back under his wing and the pair became roommates.

“We’d ride to practice together, we’d ride home together, we’d play video games together, we did a lot of things together,” Reid, now a running backs coach for the Ottawa Redblacks, told the Free Press in a phone interview.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES “We’d (Gavin Walls) ride to practice together, we’d ride home together, we’d play video games together, we did a lot of things together,” Fred Reid, now a running backs coach for the Ottawa Redblacks, told the Free Press in a phone interview.

“… He looked out for me. I was like a little brother to him and I tell him that. He really looked out for me. Not having nobody around, he took me in and taught me a lot… Gavin and I were good friends. Still are good friends.”

So when the former all-stars found out they were going into the franchise’s hall of fame together, it made it that much more special.

“I try to attract people and be around people that want to be successful and want to win. So, I think it was a two-way street with Fred wanting to be around me as I was on the team longer than him (at the time),” said Walls, who grew up in Mississippi but put down roots in Winnipeg after his playing days.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES “I’m still kind of speechless… Typically for hall of fame type things, you have to play 10 years… But I guess the years didn’t really matter in this situation. I think it was more of the consistency and quality,” said Gavin Walls.

“It was just the right energy between us… So, I’m really happy for Fred to be a part of this. It’s the perfect combination to go in with Fred.”

The Bombers announced the 2022 induction class, which also features former club president Lynn Bishop in the builder category, Wednesday morning.

Walls, 42, (2005-09) and Reid, 40, (2007-11) both played for the Bombers for five seasons.

Walls had 47 sacks in 82 regular season games and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2005. He also had two sacks in a 23-19 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto. The defender out of the University of Arkansas arrived in Canada after a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings and a season in NFL Europe playing for the Scottish Claymores. The Bombers traded Walls to Montreal after the 2009 season, but he ended up blowing out his knee in camp and never played a game for the Alouettes.

“I’m still kind of speechless… Typically for hall of fame type things, you have to play 10 years… But I guess the years didn’t really matter in this situation. I think it was more of the consistency and quality,” said Walls.

“… Before those injuries happened, I said ‘You know what, I could be conservative and play 10-15 years, or I could lay it all out.’”

Walls has five sons, four of whom were born here, and met his wife Lauren in Winnipeg as well. Walls graduated from the University of Winnipeg’s PACE program in project management in 2018 and now works for the Co-op in Moosehorn as an executive general manager.

“This is home for me. And it’s the people. The people here have always been phenomenal, on and off the field,” said Walls, who worked in the oil and gas industry in his first few years after football.

“… I look around, I look at Manitoba, I look at other provinces, I look at a lot of other places in the world, even the country I grew up and was raised in and I’m just blessed to be here. It’s a little cold at times and I do have my days, but it’s allowed me to be a whole person and that’s just the best way I can put it.”

Reid saw his role increase when Charles Roberts was traded to the B.C. Lions in 2008. Reid went on to finish in seventh on the club’s all-time rushing yardage list with 4,505 yards. His name is also in the record book as he owns the franchise’s single-game rushing mark with his performance on August 21, 2009 on the road against the Lions when he rushed for 260 yards on 26 carries — the third highest total in league history.

When Reid, who hails from Tampa, Fla., got the call to the hall, former Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson was one of the first people he reached out to. They both played their college ball at Mississippi State, although at different times, and suited up for three seasons in Winnipeg together. The two crossed paths in the school’s weight room before the 2007 campaign and Simpson asked Reid, who was playing in the American Indoor Football Association with the Mississippi MudCats at the time, if he had any interest in giving the three-down game a try. Reid said yes, leading to Simpson making a call back to Winnipeg.

“He made a phone call and they ended up signing me the next day and the rest is history. I went up there and had a great career. It wasn’t the longest career, but I think I made a good impact the five years I was there,” said Reid.

“I owe a thanks to Barrin for everything because if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be in this position and I probably wouldn’t be a part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame today.”

The 2022 class will be honoured at the Blue Bombers Legacy Gala Dinner on Oct. 11 at the RBC Convention Centre and at the annual Hall of Fame Game on Oct. 8 when the Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Elks at IG Field.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
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Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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Updated on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 7:53 PM CDT: typo fixed

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