Leon Bright - Receiver/Returner - 1977-80 - Florida State University
Canadian Football is a haven for kick returners. Three down football means that special team play is a huge part of any teams success. Having an impact kick and punt returner can be a major factor in a teams success.
Because of the frequency, speed and excitement of kick returns; a successful kick returner is often a fan favourite. For the B.C. Lions Leon Bright was a memorable return man who brought many fans out of their seats with his abilities over 4 seasons with the club.
Bright arrived in the lower mainland in 1977 from Florida State University where he excelled as a kick returner setting a number of school records. Small in stature with exceptional speed Bright made a quick impact on the club and with the fans. He had 816 yards receiving his first season. With 9 touchdowns, which included 1 punt return (108 yards) and 1 kick return touchdown (100 yards) Bright was named the Leagues Most Outstanding Rookie in 1977.
With B.C. Leon garnered the nickname “Neon Leon” for his flashy brilliance on the field. He had success as a receiver with Joe Paopao throwing passes in 1978 with 781 receiving yards. In 1980, his final season in the league he would finish with over 1,600 combined kick and punt return yards the highest totals of his cfl career.
Bright would leave for the National Football League in 1981 to join the New York Giants. He found success in the NFL as a returner with 3 seasons in New York and then 2 more seasons with Tampa Bay. The Starke, Florida native finished his career with the Buccaneers in 1985.
Following his retirement as a player Bright spent time in coaching most recently with the now defunct Arena Football League as head coach of the Daytona Beach Thunder.