My tribute to Ulysses Curtis!

All-time great Toronto Argonaut running back and defensive back Ulysses "Crazy Legs" Curtis very sadly passed away on 6 October 2012 at the age of 87. He played 57 regular season games from 1950 to 1954 with the Argonauts emerging with Grey Cup victories over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos respectively in 1950 and 1952. After Ulysses retired the Argos wouldn't win another Grey Cup until 1983!

Ulysses was among the very best natural runners of his era. During those five regular seasons, Ulysses rushed for 3712 yards on 529 attempts which averaged out to over seven yards per carry. His best year carrying the ball was 1952 when he gained 994 yards on 127 carries for a 7.8 yard average and scored sixteen touchdowns during a regular season schedule of only twelve games! During that same season he set an Argonaut single game rushing record of 208 yards against the Montreal Alouettes, a record no Argo surpassed until Gil Fenerty recorded 215 yards in a game in 1988. (That one I attended!) Ulysses was named an all-time Argo by the team in 2005.

It was as a defensive back though that Ulysses was directly involved in one of the most infamous CFL plays of all-time. He'd picked off a pass in a 1951 playoff game against the Ottawa Rough Riders and was heading down the sidelines toward the end zone when Rough Rider Pete Karpuk came off the bench and tackled him!

Incredible as it may seem today, you can see that they still played without face masks in the early fifties:

After hanging up his cleats he worked as a schoolteacher in North York for thirty years, which I imagine had to be more daunting than any linebacker he'd faced in his illustrious career.

May a great Canadian sporting icon R.I.P.


I remember Ulysses as a running back in that era. Like all Americans at that time he played two ways on both the offense and defense teams and, his play partly generated the Argos winning a Grey Cup or, two of them. The Als first won the Grey Cup in 1949 with their QB Frank Filchock who was discharged from the NFL due to a gambling charge. Ulysses was an excellent halfback possibly the best running back of that time. Nobby Wirkowski was a leading passer for the Argos until he was replaced by NFLs Tobin Rote. During this era, the CFL often raided the NFL teams offering their players higher salaries. Grey Cup games were played in Toronto each year.