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(Edmonton) The Edmonton Eskimos are saddened by the passing of former Eskimo player and head coach Eagle Keys.
Hailing from Turkey Neck Bend, Kentucky, Keys played six seasons in the CFL, three of those with the Eskimos (1952-1954). He was a member of three CFL All-Star squads and two Grey Cup-winning teams, famously playing in the ’54 Grey Cup game with a broken leg. It was during his playing days in Edmonton that he met teammate and lifelong friend Jackie Parker.
He later returned to Edmonton as head coach for five seasons (1959-1963), leading the Esks to a Grey Cup appearance in 1960. He still sits second on the club’s all-time coaching list for most career playoff wins with seven.
Keys notably played in Edmonton’s first ever Grey Cup victory in 1954 and coached Saskatchewan to their first ever Grey Cup victory in 1966.
“Eagle was my personal favourite. All professional players have a coach that shaped their career and their future and Eagle was mine,” says Hugh Campbell who was a receiver for the Riders under Keys. “Eagle took a bunch of ragtag players in Saskatchewan and made us a pretty darn good football team, taking us to the Grey Cup three times in four years.”
Eagle Keys was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as a builder in 1990.