former Alouettes RB Soles dies of ALS at 54 – .

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former Alouettes RB Soles dies of ALS at 54 – .


Michael Soles, a former CFL backer who played for Edmonton and Montreal, lost his 16-year fight to ALS on Wednesday night. He was 54 years old.

The former McGill University star was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2005, six years after retiring from the CFL.

Fifth pick in the 1989 CFL Draft, Soles helped McGill win the Vanier Cup in 1987 before embarking on an 11-year career in the CFL.

Soles was as adept at catching football as he was directing it, scoring 25 of his 45 career touchdowns as a wide receiver. He finished his career with 3,500 receiving yards and 3,007 rushing.

Throughout his long illness, former teammates say he’s always found a way to stay positive.

“He considered it a blessing that (his disease) had progressed slowly,” said former Edmonton teammate Rod Connop. “He said I had a great life and he was grateful to the people who gave him this. “

“It all just makes me take a deep breath. He was able to communicate by e-mail or by text… it was quite courageous.

Soles, who played in an all-Canadian backfield in Edmonton in the early 1990s, was entering his eighth year in the CFL when Montreal returned to the league in 1996, where he played four more seasons.

He became one of the first faces of the Montreal franchise and scored the first touchdown for the Alouettes upon their return to Percival-Molson Stadium in November 1997.

“He was a great football player and always saw the Alouettes as his second family,” general manager Danny Maciocia said in a team statement. “He fought to the end and, despite his illness, never gave up and always smiled.

“He was a big influence on my career and was more than a friend to me. “

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