Bruce Covernton, a former Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion, has died.
The lineman, lovingly nicknamed “Tuna”, played for the Stampeders between 1992 and 1996, after being drafted first overall in the 1992 CFL Draft.
In his rookie season, Covernton started all 18 games for the Stamps, helping them to a Grey Cup championship.
He played his final game with the Stampeders in 1996 due to injury, but remained on the roster through 1998, celebrating one more title before retiring from the CFL.
“One of the best, I’m going to miss him,” said Jay McNeil, the Calgary Stampeders’ newly-appointed team president.
“He was a friend, a teammate and he was just such a personality and a force in this world, and it’s going to be a tough one.”
McNeil, also a former offensive lineman, was on the Stampeders roster with Covernton between 1994 and 1998.
He said he will remember his friend’s resiliency, having dealt with his share of struggles after retiring from football.
“I’ve never met anybody tougher. And he was an inspiration to all of us,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
“And then throughout that entire time, good times and bad times, his commitment to the community was second to none and he taught us as his friends how to have an impact in the community.”
Bruce Covernton speaks with CTV News Calgary in May 2016.
Covernton earned West Division all-star honours twice and was named a CFL all-star once.
He played 72 in games with the Stampeders between 1992 and 1996, and was the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie and Offensive Lineman in 1992.
Originally hailing from Morris, Man., Covernton made Calgary his permanent home after he retired.
Following his playing career, he remained involved with the sport, coaching minor football in the city.
He was also an active member of the Stampeder Alumni Association and owned and operated a staffing agency.
He died at home in Calgary at the age of 57.
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