June 21,2014(ISN) – VANCOUVER — The BC Lions announced Friday that they will be retiring the no. 81 worn by slotback Geroy Simon as he is added to the club’s Ring of Honour on July 25.
Simon was at BC Place to take in the Calgary Stampeders and Lions pre-season game as he continues his tour of CFL stadiums as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders scouting department.
Simon’s number will officially go into retirement at a ceremony on July 25th when the Lions host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — the same team he broke into the league with in 1999.
The league’s all-time leading receiver announced his retirement on June 4th.
“It was totally unexpected. I didn’t expect it,” Simon told The Canadian Press. “I was shocked but happy and pleased with the organization.”
His time with the Lions is where Simon would cement his legacy, earning six league all-star nods (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) and seven West Division All-Star selections (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011).
The 2006 season was Simon’s finest, posting career highs in receiving yards (1,856), receptions (105) and touchdowns (15). As a result, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and capped off the year with his first Grey Cup championship as the Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes in Winnipg.
In 2012, Simon completed what would be his final year in BC by becoming the all-time leader in receiving yards, surpassing former teammate Milt Stegall. A year, later he would add the CFL’s all-time receptions title to his resume, surpassing former Montreal Alouette Ben Cahoon. Simon, 38, twice played for teams that won Grey Cups at home – the 2011 B.C. Lions and last year with the Roughriders.
“I want to thank Geroy for making this happen because he could have been difficult to deal with,” said Lions general manager and vice-president of football operations Wally Buono. “He was, as he always is, a great pro, a great human being.
“For us it was really a no-brainer to acknowledged Geroy for what he did on and off the field.”