Former CFL player Eagle Day dead at 75

September 15, 2009, 6:36 AM

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OXFORD, Miss. — Quarterback Herman Sidney (Eagle) Day, who spent 12 seasons in the CFL with Winnipeg, Calgary and Toronto, has died. He was 75.

Day died Friday at his daughter’s home in Nashville, Tenn., after a short unspecified illness, according to the University of Mississippi, his alma mater.

The former Ole Miss star also spent two seasons with the NFL’s Washington Redskins as a punter.

Day played his college football at Mississippi in the 1950s and had the distinction of throwing a 63-yard touchdown on his first U.S. college passing attempt.

After playing in the 1956 Hula Bowl, Day was selected in the 17th round of the NFL draft by Washington. However, he opted to play three seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before returning to the Redskins for the 1959 and ’60 seasons, averaging 42 yards on 59 punts in 1960.

Day returned to the CFL the following year, joining the Calgary Stampeders. Day was a CFL all-star in 1962 and a finalist to Montreal’s George Dixon as the CFL’s outstanding player that year. He remained with the Stampeders through the ’65 season before finishing up with Toronto the following year.

Day remains fifth in all-time CFL playoff completions with 226 and sixth in all-time playoff passing yards with 3,132.

Day was an all-Southeastern Conference quarterback who went 28-5-1 and won two league titles under coach John Vaught from 1954 to ’56.

He was dubbed "The Mississippi Gambler" after setting up Ole Miss’s 14-13 victory over TCU in the 1956 Cotton Bowl with a 25-yard scramble late in the game that helped the Rebels earn their first major bowl victory.

Day also pitched for the Rebels baseball team and took Ole Miss to the College World Series in 1956. He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the Ole Miss Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2003.

He is survived by his wife, JoAnne, two sons, a daughter and two grandchildren.

Services will be held March 1 in Jackson.

– With files from The Associated Press

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