It's only fitting the greatest of all time is the final jewel in the All-Time Blue Bombers Team.

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This article was published 14/11/2014 (2365 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It's only fitting the greatest of all time is the final jewel in the All-Time Blue Bombers Team.

Milt Stegall, arguably the best receiver to ever play in the CFL, has been chosen to that position on the Free Press/TSN 1290 All-Time Bombers Team.

Stegall came to Winnipeg in the fall of 1995 and before he was done late in the fall of 2008, he had taken a chunk of the record book and made it his own.

He retired with 15,153 receiving yards which was a new record (since surpassed by Geroy Simon) and was at or near the top of almost every receiving record in the book.

"This is cool. It's humbling. Look at the players that were on this list: Ernie Pitts, Joe Poplawski, James Murphy and Rick House. All great players and I don't take it for granted that I'm mentioned in the same category as them," said Stegall.

Stegall did not have the luxury of consistency at quarterback spending a number of his years in the CFL with a list of no-names throwing him the ball. Stretches with Khari Jones and Kevin Glenn were the best Stegall would see, but he estimates he caught passes from more than 20 quarterbacks during his time in Winnipeg.

The Bombers struggled for a good portion of Stegall's career and a Grey Cup championship proved elusive.

"I wouldn't change anything. People ask me if I look back and wish I had of taken an offer to play somewhere else and had a better chance to win a Grey Cup. Don't get me wrong, I wish I could have won 14 Grey Cups. But I would want to win them in Winnipeg," said Stegall. "That's my legacy. Playing 14 years in Winnipeg and building relationships and being given the chance to try and touch some people's lives along the way. No, I wouldn't change anything."

Voters selected Ken Ploen as the quarterback, Chris Walby as the offensive lineman, Greg Battle as the linebacker, Bob Cameron as the kicker, Leo Lewis as kick returner and running back, Doug Brown as the defensive lineman, Rod Hill as the defensive back and Stegall as receiver of the Free Press/TSN 1290 All-Time Bombers Team.

Voting began back in September and fans were given the choice of five players at our selected positions as chosen by the All-Time Blue Bombers Team panel, comprising legendary coach Bud Grant, former player and GM Paul Robson, hall of fame football writer Ed Tait, Andrew (Hustler) Paterson from TSN 1290 and myself.

Panelists were provided a statistical breakdown of the Bombers dating back to the 1950s, as well as an anecdotal package of the early Bombers teams, when statistics were not recorded.

Each panelist brought a unique perspective and personal set of criteria. Grant joined the group via conference call from a cabin in the Wisconsin woods while the rest huddled around a boardroom table at the Free Press offices.

From Grant's gravelly voice emanating out of the telephone speaker, to Tait's vivid recollections of games and players, to Robson's cold analysis of a player's strengths and weaknesses, to Paterson's views from the upper decks of our stadiums, there were strong opinions all around.

Some players were quickly selected. Others were hotly debated. Sometimes it came down to a clash of eras. Others made it on the merit of championship wins while those without rings on their fingers were often set aside.

The final decisions were up to you. Readers and listeners were the GMs of this team. This is your team.

 

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless