A famed former USFL (original) and CFL player has passed away. Dave Albright died from a heart attack Thursday in Redondo Beach, CA, one day after his 63rd birthday.
He played in college for the Chabot Gladiators and San Jose State Spartans, then turned pro with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats in 1985. After that league folded the next year, he headed to the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, and he wound up being an absolutely vital piece of their 1989 Grey Cup victory.
Very sad news about Dave Albright, a tough player and beloved teammate who played a key role in the Roughriders' surge to a 1989 Grey Cup title.https://t.co/vu3xraw2ON
— Rob Vanstone (@robvanstone) January 28, 2023
That tweet is from Rob Vanstone of The Regina Leader-Post, who has spent a lot of time covering the CFL‘s Saskatchewan Roughriders that Albright starred with. Vanstone’s piece there has a lot of notable elements on Albright, including the franchise tackle record he set that stood until this past season and the incredible play he made in the 1989 CFL playoffs:
A middle linebacker with the Roughriders from 1986 to 1991, Albright set a franchise single-season record for defensive tackles (118) during his second CFL season. That record stood until Darnell Sankey made 120 tackles in 2022.
…Albright, who appeared in 76 regular-season games with the Roughriders, made his most memorable play in the 1989 West Division final.
With Edmonton leading 10-3 early in the second quarter at Commonwealth Stadium, a blitzing Eddie Lowe rocked quarterback Tracy Ham and forced a fumble. Albright scooped up the loose ball and ran 62 yards for a game-changing touchdown.
…“I’m the guy who gets the touchdown, but credit Eddie with the big play,” Albright said in a 2009 interview. “(Edmonton) had one of the best teams in the history of the CFL but, from the moment that play happened, we all believed.”
The Roughriders also posted a tribute to Albright:
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are saddened to learn of alumnus, David Albright's sudden passing. We send our deepest condolences to his family, and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/TYFLymcvNp
— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) January 28, 2023
The 1989 Roughriders’ Grey Cup triumph, their first since 1966 and their last until 2007, remains one of the key moments in CFL history. And Albright was a huge part of that. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.