American Football Database
American Football Database
No. 38     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1959-08-17) August 17, 1959 (age 62)
Place of birth: Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.
Career information
College: Northern Arizona
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A

Willard Sheldon Reaves (born August 17, 1959) is a former Canadian Football League running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He also played in the National Football League for the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins.

College career

Reaves played college football at Northern Arizona University from 1977 to 1980. He rushed for 2,139 yards at university, the best being 1979 when he rushed for 1,084 yards and was voted First Team All Big Sky Conference First Team All American.

In 1992, Reaves was inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame, and in 2002 he became a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.[1]

Professional career

Canadian Football League

Reaves played five seasons for the Blue Bombers from 1983 to 1987. He rushed for 898 yards in his first year and was runner up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award and an all star. In 1984, he led the league rushing for 1,733 yards on 304 carries and 18 touchdowns, all team records. He also set a CFL record with 2,140 yards from scrimmage. He won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award.[2] He also helped his team win the 72nd Grey Cup, their first victory since 1962.[2]

Reaves rushed for 1,000 yards two other times (1,323 in 1985 and 1,471 in 1987), he led the league in both seasons. He finished his career with 5,923 total rushing yards for the Blue Bombers. He led the CFL in rushing 3 times in his career. He was a three time CFL all star.

National Football League

He also tried out with the NFL (he was originally undrafted) and in 1989 he played two games with the Miami Dolphins and one game with the Washington Redskins.[3][4]

Personal life

Following his retirement from the NFL, Reaves moved back to Winnipeg and became a Sergeant with the Manitoba Sheriff Service. Willard's son Ryan Reaves is a professional hockey player and right wing for the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League. Willard's youngest son Jordan Reaves is a professional football player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. He also has two daughters, Regina and Renee.[5]


  1. "Willard Reaves (August 17, 1959 - )". Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Duff, Bob (January 27, 2011). "Duff: CFL roots set path for Reaves, Nurse". Windsor Star. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  3. "Willard Reaves". Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  4. Allen, Taylor (February 9, 2018). "Blue Bomber great Reaves wanted badge, gun but police chief urged him to take ball, run". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  5. Odeven, Ed (October 1, 2004). "Reaves doesn't shy away from limelight". Arizona Daily Sun. Retrieved November 28, 2018. "Reaves and his wife, Brenda, have three children: daughter Regina, 21, who lives in Phoenix, 21; and sons Ryan, 17, and Jordan, 14."

External links

Template:CFL rushing yardage leaders