Saskatchewan Roughriders

Donald Narcisse - Wide Receiver -1987-1999 - Texas Southern

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Rough road for 'Rider Narciss - By Dan Barnes -- Edmonton Sun - 1997

Roughrider receiver Don Narcisse descends on a different Regina classroom every week during the season, surprising kids the way he has opposing defensive backs for 11 solid CFL seasons.


 "I show up there and I just express to them the things I went through in my life. Football wasn't always my sport. My mother didn't want me to play because I had asthma and a heart murmur. So I had to stay away from sports.


 "And when I finally got the opportunity to play, everybody was still calling me too slow and not tall enough. Eleven years have passed and look at me now.


 ``I'm the No. 2 receiver in the CFL and it just goes to show that if you have a lot of pride in yourself, nobody can tell you that you can't do something."


 The 32-year-old from some place called Port Arthur, Texas really ought to be the Roughriders' poster boy for this Grey Cup, what with his dashing good looks and all.


 He truly typifies the Saskatchewan struggle against the Toronto might. He was never supposed to make it in pro football.


At five-foot-nine and 170 pounds he wasn't about to out-leap or out-muscle anybody for an overthrown

 pass.


You want an underdog, he's your pooch.

 

But he's caught 777 passes now for 10,551 yards. He's a seven-time member of the thousand-yard club. During the 1995 season he broke Tony Gabriel's record for most consecutive games with a reception, pushing it from 137 to 144. And he has his sights set on former teammate Ray Elgaard's CFL record of 830 receptions in a career.


"I'm not going to stop until I get that one."


It won't make him the greatest receiver of alltime. Others have more TDs, more yards, better averages. But it will be another accomplishment that his detractors will have to acknowledge. It will be a credit to his willingness to show up every game day.


"The reason why I'm still playing is I've got a good attitude and work ethic and I come to play each and every day."


And you know he'll be ready tomorrow. He tested two pairs of shoes on the Commonwealth turf yesterday, deciding to go with the Nike Destroyers. But it wasn't his feet he was testing, just his mindset.


He was getting ready, imagining the moves he'd make tomorrow, maybe thinking back to 1989 and his first trip to the Grey Cup.


Before 1989 he was just another import receiver with average numbers, marking time. But 1989 was his breakthrough year. He caught 81 passes, 11 for TDs and amassed a career-high 1,419 yards.


He caught a TD pass in the Grey Cup win too but he wasn't a team leader.


"I was 23 years old at that time and I really didn't understand the game.
`I remember we were playing in Toronto and I was always looking up at the Jumbo screen when we were in the huddle. Milson Jones hollered at me, `Get your butt in the game.'


 "Next thing you know Jeff Fairholm made the big catch and it kinda got everybody relaxed. Today the role we try to do as individuals like (Dan) Rashovich and (Bobby) Jurasin and myself is try to be a leader on the field.


'It's time to show the younger players that we'll take all the pressure, we'll go out there and make the plays. Y'all just go out there and relax."
This could be his last Grey Cup, of course, and his goal for the game is simple.


He doesn't want personal glory.


"I just want to win, because you never know when it's your last. When you get this close you always want to be in a position to win.
`We have the No. 1 fans in the CFL. We have to show them we have the No. 1 team."
    

-- statistics --

 

 

Don Narcisse Texas Southern  
  Receiving      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1987 Ssk 25 319 12.8 43 1
1988 Ssk 21 288 13.7 22 0
1989 Ssk 81 1,419 17.5 74 11
1990 Ssk 86 1,129 13.1 47 9
1991 Ssk 76 1,043 13.7 59 7
1992 Ssk 80 1,034 12.9 65 7
1993 Ssk 83 1,171 14.1 44 9
1994 Ssk 72 1,004 13.9 40 8
1995 Ssk 123 1,288 10.5 40 8
1996 Ssk 66 905 13.7 77 4
1997 Ssk 64 950 14.8 47 5
1998 Ssk 95 1,215 12.8 44 7
1999 Ssk 47 600 12.8 31 1
Total 13 919 12,365 13.5 87 77