Super happy about this return today that I never thought I’d ever get back. It tied the record for my longest current wait -at 409 days! He was kind enough to also include a CFL card to go along with his WLAF card as an added bonus and inscribed them with his HOF year. Hall of Fame you say? You’ve never heard of Mike Pringle? Mike Pringle may not ring any bells to any NFL fan, but to a CFL fan, he’s the greatest runningback in gridiron history.
Mike Pringle was a dominant runningback in college playing in the shadow of USC and UCLA while at Cal State Fullerton. During his career there, the prolific back would tie the NCAA record for most yards rushing in a game at 357 (with Reuben Mayes), following that up with a 269 yard rushing effort the next week. The two game total of 626 yards, was an NCAA record. The do it all runningback would lead the NCAA with a titanic 2659 yards from scrimmage that season.
In 1990, Mike would be drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 6th round of the NFL draft. At 5’8″, 186, the team hoped to utilize him as both a receiver and runningback in their Red Gun offense under Jerry Glanville, but Pringle would be remanded to the practice squad his rookie season. He’d return to the team in 1991, but not make the final squad cut at training camp becoming along with Brett Favre, another record breaking offensive player let go by Jerry Glanville.
Pringle would be signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, but after 3 respectable games, he’d be inexplicably cut. Mike then suited up for the Sacramento Surge in 1992, winning World Bowl II with the franchise. He’d lead the team on the ground posting a respectable 507 yards and 6 touchdowns, ranking 4th in the league in yards, and second in attempts (152). In addition Pringle would chock in 6 receptions. The WLAF would reorganize after the season with the Sacramento Surge being the only survivor from the league that took to the field in 1993. They would join the CFL ironically and Sacramento would be rebranded as the Goldminers. After a subpar season where he subbed in for Mike Oliphant and acted as a third down back, Pringle would be traded to the Baltimore Stallions in 1994. Pringle would take the reins of the starting runningback job after week 2, and never looked back. The rest later became history. Pringle set CFL marks with 1972 yards rushing in a season. He’d also return kicks for the team as well, finishing with exhaustively over 2700 yards from scrimmage on the ground. Pringle in 1995 followed his massive 1994 season up with a 1791 yards rushing- an incredible 2 year run. Mike also averaged a gaudy 6.4 yards a carry in 1994, and a 5.8 yard average in 1995. At the conclusion of the 1995 season, the Stallions would win the Grey Cup. He’d do a short stint with the Broncos after the season, but be cut in training camp.
In 1996 he’d rejoin Baltimore, which had relocated to Montreal to become the Alouettes. Playing only part time in 1996, he’d return to form in 1997 rushing for 1775 yards for Montreal. Pringle’s 1998 stands among the upper echelon of gridiron football, as he shattered the 2k barrier running for 2065 yards and left his mark on the record book. He’d continue to run for incredible numbers over the next few seasons in Montreal, leaving the team in 2003. Mike did not disappoint playing for the Eskimos. He’d continue to bang out 1000 yard seasons, and in 2004 took the CFL rushing record by storm. At the end of the season, Mike retired and then signed an honorary one day contract with Montreal to retire with them. By the end of his career, Pringle finished his career with a record 16425 yards rushing, 20254 TYAC, and tied for the CFL record of 137 career touchdowns.
Since retirement Mike has been inducted into the CFL HoF in 2008 and had his number retired by the Alouettes. A 7 time Canadian All star and 2 time CFL MVP, Mike to me is probably considered probably the greatest WLAF success story. Below are his CFL statistics:
Rush 2962 Yds 16425 Avg 5.6 Td 125 | Rec 396 Yds 3793 Avg 9.5 Td 11
Kr 138 Yds 2954 Avg 21.4 Td 0