American Football Database
American Football Database
Brian Fryer
No. 85     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1953-07-16) July 16, 1953 (age 68)
Place of birth: Edmonton, Alberta
Career information
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Brian Fryer (born July 16, 1953) is a retired football player who starred at wide receiver for the University of Alberta, and played professionally for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League and the Edmonton Eskimos and Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League.

Strathcona High School (1968-1971)

Fryer was a three sport athlete at Strathcona High School in Edmonton from the fall of 1968 to the spring of 1971, starring on the Lords’ football, basketball and track and field teams all three years. As an intermediate boy in his grade 11 year at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association provincial track and field meet in Calgary, Fryer won and set the ASAA record for the 120 yard hurdles with a time of 14.4 seconds. The following year at the provincial championship in Edmonton, Fryer once again won the 120 yard hurdles, setting a new record of 14.2 seconds. He also smashed the records in both the long jump (7.08m) and triple jump (13.8m), setting standards that stood for almost two decades before being surpassed. In total Fryer won four gold medals and set three provincial records in ASAA competition. In his last year Fryer was awarded the Most Outstanding Athlete award.

University of Alberta (1972-1975)

From 1972 to 1975 Fryer was a dominant wide receiver for the University of Alberta football team. In his first season the Alberta Golden Bears went 9-1 and beat Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) 20-7 for the Vanier Cup symbolizing Canadian University football supremacy.

On October 12, 1974, Fryer set a single game Canadian Interuniversity Sport record with 227 yards receiving against the University of Calgary. In 1974 he set a single season CIS record with 58 receptions, and recorded the first 1000 yard receiving season in CIS history with a record 1068 yards. In addition he scored 16 touchdowns, including a CIS record 14 receiving touchdowns. His total of 16 touchdowns on the season was the third highest total in a single season, behind Paul Brule’s 25 touchdowns at St. Francis Xavier University in 1967 and Brule’s 20 touchdowns at St. FX in 1966. He finished 1974 as an all Canadian all-star and was nominated as the Canada West's nominee for the Hec Creighton Trophy.

In 1975 Fryer made 51 receptions for 943 yards during the season and won the Hec Crighton Trophy awarded annually to the most outstanding football player in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. As well, he was on the all Canadian all star team.

Fryer finished his career at the University of Alberta with the CIS records for most receiving yards in a game, a season and a career, and the records for most receptions in a season and a career, and the most receiving touchdowns in a season. He made a record 136 career receptions, for a record 2655 career yards receiving. His career total of 34 touchdowns was second on the CIS career list to the 51 scored by Paul Brule at St. Francis Xavier University from 1964-1967. His career total of 20 receiving touchdowns tied him for second all-time with Mike Kirkpatrick of Saint Mary's University (Halifax), six behind Eric Walter’s record 26 at McGill University. This was quite an accomplishment considering he was only a starting receiver for only two years (1974/75). Fryer also totaled 1068 rushing yards and 505 kickoff return yards during his four years at Alberta.

Accomplishments were: 2 Time Western and All Canadian All-Star. 1974 Canada West Hec Crighton nominee. 1975 Winner of the Hec Creighton Trophy as the most outstanding football player in CIS. 1975 Winner of the University of Alberta Wilson Challenge Trophy as the most outstanding male athlete. 1983...Initial inductee into the University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame.

Washington Redskins (1976-1978)

Fryer’s accomplishments at the University of Alberta caught the attention of Bob Windish, the director of player personnel for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. After watching Fryer at a practice in September 1975 he passed a report on to Alouettes head coach Marv Levy.[1] Levy, who was once an assistant with the Washington Redskins of the NFL, told Redskins head coach George Allen (American football coach) that Fryer was a player with NFL potential.[2] Redskins director of player personnel Tim Temerario and director of college scouting Mark Allman paid visits to Alberta that winter to assess Fryer’s abilities.[3] As a result, the Redskins selected Fryer with the 234th pick in the 8th round of the NFL draft on April 8th 1976.

As an Edmonton-born and trained player, Fryer’s CFL negotiating rights were held by the Edmonton Eskimos by territorial exemption, but the Redskins easily exceeded the Eskimos’ top offer of around $100,000.[4] On April 28 Fryer signed a three-year contract with Washington for $155,000, plus a $15,000 signing bonus and a new car, making him the first Canadian born player trained at a Canadian university to be drafted,signed by an NFL club and make a team as a rookie.[5]

Fryer was one of 34 rookies at the Redskins training camp that summer, but the only one who made the team. He caught seven passes for 110 yards and scored one touchdown in pre-season exhibition play and was slotted into the lineup as a special teams player. Fryer returned nine kickoffs for 166 yards in four NFL regular season games before strained ligaments in his knee ended his season. They would be the only four NFL regular season games Fryer would play. He spent the 1977 season rehabbing on the practice roster, before parting ways with the team in 1978.

CFL career (1978-1985)

Fryer continued his pro career in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1978. The Eskimos were a league powerhouse that had played in the Grey Cup championship game in four of the previous five seasons, and were loaded with star players including running back Jim Germany, receiver Waddell Smith and future Hall of Famers Tom Wilkinson (Canadian football) and George McGowan. In 1978 two more future Hall of Famers were added to the roster in receiver Tom Scott (Canadian football) and future NFL great Warren Moon. As a result, Fryer’s contributions to the Eskimos’ Grey Cup winning 1978 season were minimal; he played in nine of the team’s 16 games and caught 20 passes for 293 yards and one touchdown.

Fryer’s opportunities were reduced again during the 1979 season, as future Hall of Famer Brian Kelly (Canadian football) joined Smith and Scott to form the most dangerous receiving corps in the league. Fryer appeared in only two games as the Eskimos won a second consecutive Grey Cup.

Injuries to Smith and Scott allowed Fryer to become a more regular contributor to the Eskimos during the 1980 season. He appeared in 15 games and caught 23 passes for 408 yards and two touchdowns. In the post-season he caught four passes for 77 yards as Edmonton won its third consecutive Grey Cup, 48-10 over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In 1981 Scott, Kelly and Smith caught passes for 3982 yards as the trio combined with Wilkinson and Moon in an unprecedented aerial assault on CFL defences. The team went 14-1-1 and won their fourth Grey Cup in four years, but Fryer only appeared in one game all season, catching a single pass for 11 yards after being in a season-ending injury the first game of the season.

Fryer had his finest pro year in 1982, as the dangerous receiving trio of Scott, Kelly and Smith became a quartet. Fryer made 55 catches for 812 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and made four receptions for 55 yards in the Grey Cup game as the Eskimos won an unprecedented fifth consecutive championship.

Fryer had 46 receptions for 639 yards in Moon’s final CFL season of 1983, and had 464 yards in 1984. He appeared in eight games for Edmonton in 1985 before finishing the season, and his pro career, with three games for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

His CFL totals in 83 regular season games over eight years are 179 receptions, 2670 yards and seven touchdowns.

After football

Since his retirement in 1985, Brian has been employed as the Executive Director of Football Alberta.

Fryer was announced for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on February 21, 2013 in recognition of his CIS playing career with the Alberta Golden Bears.[6]

Fryer was inducted into the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and inducted into the City of Edmonton's Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. As well he is inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as part of the team awards for winning the Grey Cup 5 years in a row (1978-82).


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