Record-setting running back Mike Pringle was feted into retirement Wednesday by the Montreal Alouettes.
Pringle, the CFL's all-time rushing leader, was honoured during an upbeat ceremony prior to Montreal's 31-21 victory over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The 37-year-old future Hall of Famer re-signed Tuesday with Montreal and promptly filed his retirement papers so he could end his CFL career with the Alouettes, who retired his No. 27.
"It doesn't happen to many players to have their jersey retired," he said. "For that to happen is a really special honour."
Montreal has now retired the numbers worn by seven players: Sam Etcheverry (92), George Dixon (28), Herb Trawick (56), Pierre Desjardins (63), Peter Dalla Riva (74), Junior Ah You (77) and Pringle (27).
Pringle dressed in full uniform for the ceremony, pads and all, and was hoisted high by his former Alouettes teammates before addressing the capacity crowd of 20,202 â Montreal's 55th straight sellout at Percival Molson Stadium.
"To have my family here to enjoy it with me was really special," he said.
Pringle actually announced his retirement on Feb. 14, despite rushing for 1,141 yards and eight touchdowns on 259 carries for the Edmonton Eskimos last season, his 13th in the CFL.
The six-time all-star rushed 2,962 times for 16,425 yards and 125 touchdowns over 187 games with the Eskimos, Sacramento Gold Miners, Baltimore Stallions and Alouettes.
Pringle also caught 396 passes for 3,830 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He is the only running back in CFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season, gaining 2,065 yards in 1998.
Pringle also set league records with 347 carries and 14 100-yard games, including 13 in a row.
Named the CFL's most outstanding player in 1995 and 1998, he holds league standards for rushing yards (16,425) and yards from scrimmage (20,254) and equalled Hall of Famer George Reed's mark for total touchdowns (137).
Pringle played in six Grey Cups, winning three â 1995 with Baltimore, 2002 with Montreal and 2003 with Edmonton.
Pringle was selected out of Fullerton State by the Atlanta Falcons in the sixth-round â 139th overall â in the 1990 NFL Draft, but wound up released in 1991.
After playing for the Sacramento Surge of the WFL in 1992, he entered the CFL with the Eskimos.
Pringle later joined the Alouettes in 1996 following a failed stint with the Denver Broncos.
with files from CP Online