|No. 87, 1|
|Date of birth:March 19, 1963|
|Place of birth: Humboldt, Tennessee|
|No regular season or postseason appearances|
|Roster status: Retired|
|Career highlights and awards|
Early sports career Edit
A multi-sport star, Champion lived up to his name as a football standout at the high school, college and pro level. A 1981 Humboldt grad, he was an all-district player on the Vikings' 1979 undefeated, 13-0 Class AA state champion football team. As a senior he quarterbacked Humboldt to a 10-1 season and was selected All-West Tenn., 2nd Team All-State and Humboldt Player of the Year. In basketball Champion earned All-District and All-Region as Humboldt finished state runner-up. In track he placed 4th in state in the 330 yd. low hurdles as a junior and qualified for the state as a senior, but elected to attend graduation instead of competing at the state meet.
Football career Edit
Playing football at the University of Tennessee at Martin (1981–84), Champion was All-Gulf South Conference, had 84 career points and tied a school record with a 100-yard kickoff return. As a junior he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards and set school records for receptions in a season (39) and most yards single game (181 yards on 3 catches). He was a pre-season All-American before suffering knee injury as a senior.
He was a two time all-star (1986 and 1989) in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for eight seasons from 1985 to 1992. He had 340 career receptions for 5,498 yards and 37 TD's. In 1989 Champion was runner-up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award, Hamilton's Most Valuable Player, winner of the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy trophy, and set a team season record for touchdowns with 15 on the year.
Champion is remembered for his last minute touchdown catch in the 1989 Grey Cup game. With Hamilton trailing in the final minutes, Champion caught a 13 yard Mike Kerrigan pass deep in the end zone with 44 seconds remaining, tying the game. Fully extended, he rolled over in mid-air to grab the ball in both hands and fell flat out on the ground, without dropping the ball. Champion was playing with broken ribs.
Professional football record Edit
Champion has dropped out of public life totally since leaving football. All efforts to contact him, by former teammates and for a 20th anniversary of the 1989 Grey Cup game, have been ignored. He is presently living in Humboldt, Tenn. working in a tobacco factory. Champion was somewhat bitter when he left the CFL in 1992. This was evidenced as early as the 1989 Grey Cup game, where in a post game interview he proclaimed: "You've seen the last of Tony Champion." While not correct, this was a manifestation of his belief that he was not fully appreciated or compensated.
Champion is the son of the late Sadie Mai Champion of Humboldt. Tony and wife, Darla have two children, Kiara and Maiya.
- ↑ Greatest Grey Cup in history still sends chills down the spine by Al Maki,Toronto Globe and Mail, November 17, 2007.