Each week a Bombers player visits with Ed Tait of bluebombers.com to reminisce about a particular game, or games, that is most memorable for them in their careers in high school, college or professional careers.
Willie Jefferson background:
- Jefferson is coming off the best season in his CFL career, having been named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019 – his first with the Bombers.
- Jefferson has been a CFL All-Star in each of the last three seasons and was named both the Bombers Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019 after posting a career best 12 quarterback sacks, leading the CFL with six forced fumbles and setting a new league record for pass knockdowns by a defensive lineman with 16.
- He signed a two-year contract extension on February 10, 2020
- Jefferson first came to the CFL in 2014 with Edmonton and spent two seasons with the club. He signed a contract with Washington in the winter of 2016, but was released in late August and signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders – following Chris Jones, who had been his head coach in Edmonton.
- Jefferson spent 2017 and 2018 with the Riders and was the team’s MOP and Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2018. He signed as a free agent with Winnipeg in the winter of 2019.
- Jefferson played his college ball at both Baylor and Stephen F. Austin. In 2011 he was named 2011 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year in his Junior season.
- In 2013 Jefferson was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans, but was released in late October.
“The game that really stands out for me for a number of reasons was when I was in Saskatchewan and we won against Edmonton on Thanksgiving (in 2018) and I had a Pick-6 with less than two minutes to go to help us get the victory (19-12).
“I’ve got memories of games where I played well or games where I still think I could have done better, but this one was memorable because it was intense and I was playing with my wife (Holly) and my baby daughter (Kelley) in the stands.
“I was having a good game, but we were down for most of it. Edmonton was just trying to get into field-goal range so they could end it, but then Mike Reilly threw a pass and I picked it. As I was celebrating and I started to realize how big the moment was, so I ran from the end zone to the other side of the field to give my wife and my daughter the game-winning Pick-6 football and give them a kiss. That’s a staple for us because it shows my love for my wife and my daughter.
“That was also a Breast Cancer Awareness game and I was an ambassador for Breast Cancer Awareness in Saskatchewan at the time. The ladies from the Cameco Touchdown For Dreams program were there in the stands, too, and the gamewas dedicated to them.
“I was wearing my pink bandana for that game. I wore it for my grandmother (Theresa Jefferson) who had passed from breast cancer. So many things had come together in that game from me having those ladies in the stands and my wife, my daughter and playing for my grandmorther… it meant a lot.
“Plus, I was playing against my former team that I had won a Grey Cup with (in 2015) and the interception came against one of the best to ever play quarterback in the CFL. I try to play hard every year and try to give my all. But those Breast Cancer Awareness Games in October… I try to find something extra because it’s something that’s near and dear to me because of my grandmother passing.”
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