He was a double-threat, a player capable of turning a short completion into a huge play or burning the opposition on special teams.
On Thursday, Earl Winfield received the highest individual honour a football player in this country can as the former Hamilton Tiger-Cats star headlined the 2013 class named for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Also selected as players were offensive linemen Dan Ferrone and Miles Gorrell and receiver Brian Fryer while former official John (Jake) Ireland and long-time CIS coach Don Loney (posthumously) will go in the builder's category.
The official induction ceremony will be held in Edmonton later this year with the new inductees boosting the Hall of Fame's membership to 264.
The 51-year-old Winfield, a native of Petersburg, Pa., joined the Ticats in 1987 after attending the Seattle Seahawks' training camp the season before and wasted little time making an impact in the CFL.
On Sept. 5, 1988 he became the first CFL player to score a TD three different ways in a game. He had 101-yard punt return, 100-yard kickoff return and touchdown catch in leading Hamilton to a 56-28 victory over the arch-rival Toronto Argonauts.
Over 11 seasons with Hamilton, Winfield had 573 career catches for 10,119 yards and 75 touchdown grabs. He also recorded 281 punt returns for 2,834 yards and 11 TDs and returned 75 kickoffs for 1,656 yards and the TD against Toronto.
Winfield retired as the Ticats' all-time leader in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, punt return touchdowns and overall TDs (87) as well as single-season punt return TDs (four in '88). Twice he was a CFL all-star and in 2005 was named to the Ticats' Wall of Fame.
Ferrone, 54, a native of Oakville, Ont., spent 11 of his 12 CFL seasons with Toronto (1981-'88, 1990-'92). He played for the Calgary Stampeders in 1989.
Ferrone won two Grey Cup titles with Toronto (1983, '91) and was a five-time CFL all-star. Twice the former Simon Fraser star was named the East Division top lineman and appeared in 213 career games and served 10 years as an Argos team captain. Ten times he was the club's nominee as outstanding lineman.
Ferrone also served as president of the CFL Players' Association from 1993 to 2000 and was an offensive line coach with Toronto in 2002. He moved into the front office as vice-president in 2003 before being promoted to president.
In 2006, Ferrone was named an All-Time Argo before being placed on the All-Time Argos squad at guard.
Gorrell, a 57-year-old Edmonton native, was a fixture in the CFL, entering the league in 1978 with Calgary and playing for five teams — Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton (twice) and Winnipeg — through the '96 season. He stands fourth in league history in games played (321) and twice was a finalist for the CFL's top lineman award.
The towering six-foot-eight, 285-pound Gorrell earned a Grey Cup ring in 1986 with Hamilton. Gorrell played his college football at the University of Ottawa, where the award given annually to the school's top offensive lineman is named after him.
Fryer, 59, enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at the University of Alberta. The Edmonton native was three times a Canada West all-star and in 1975 captured the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top player in Canadian university football.
Fryer spent the 1976 season with the NFL's Washington Redskins before returning to Edmonton to be part of five Grey Cup-winning Eskimos squads (1978-'82). He finished his career in '85 with the now-defunct Ottawa Rough Riders.
Ireland, 66, a native of Townsend, Ont., spent 29 seasons as a CFL official and appeared in 555 games. He was an official in 16 Grey Cup games and worked as the referee in four straight (1985-'89) before retiring as on-field official in 2008.
Upon retirement, Ireland became the head of the CFL video replay unit.
Loney served as the head coach at St. Francis Xavier University for 16 years, posting a 133-31-2 record. Affectionately dubbed the "Father of Maritime Football," Loney's teams won nine conference titles, four Atlantic Bowls, six Jewett Trophy crowns and a national championship.
Loney, an Ottawa native who died in 2004 at age of 80, spent eight seasons as a centre in the CFL with Toronto and Ottawa. He was part of two Grey Cup-winning squads.