Montreal Alouettes

Elfrid Payton - Defensive End - 1996-99 - Grambling


Hamilton, Ontario - Former Grambling State standout defensive end Elfrid "SWAC" Payton was inducted as part of the 2010 Class into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada as announced by Mark DeNobile, Executive Director of the CFHOFM.


In three years at Grambling Payton accumulated 117 tackles ( 70 of which were solo), 28 tackles for losses and 16.5 sacks. He was the team's MVP in 1988 and 1989.


Payton signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a free agent in 1991. That same season, he was Winnipeg's nominee for most outstanding rookie with 37 tackles and six sacks. During the 1993 season he was the CFL's leader in quarterback sacks with 22. He was named a CFL All-star, as well as being awarded the James P. McCaffrey Trophy (most outstanding defensive player in the Eastern Division) for his efforts.


After a brief stint with the Shreveport Pirates, Payton signed with the Baltimore Stallions. He helped the Stallions to a Grey Cup appearance in 1994 and Grey Cup victory in 1995. He was

named a Southern Division All-Star for the 1995 season.


When the Baltimore Stallions moved north to become the Montreal Alouettes in 1996, Payton continued with the team. In 1997, for the second time in his career Payton was the league leader in sacks with 14. He continued to earn awards for his outstanding performance on the field being named both an Eastern All-Star and a CFL All-Star in 1997 and 1998. On July 22, 1999 during a game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Payton had five sacks tying the record for most sacks during a regular season game.


The 1999 season would be Payton's last with the Alouettes. After returning to the Blue Bombers for a season in 2000 and spending the 2001 season with the Argonauts, Payton signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2002. For a third time Payton led the CFL in sacks, as well as being named a Western Division All-Star, a CFL All-Star and being award the Norm Fieldgate Trophy (Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the Western Division). In 2003, Payton earned is second Grey Cup victory as part of the Edmonton Eskimos team.


At the time of his retirement, Payton had 154 sacks making him second of All-Time in Quarterback Sacks. He also held the Alouette's team record for most sacks with 52. Payton signed a 1 day contract with Montreal in 2008 to retire as an Alouette. - Esks.Com - Staff

Add "Hall of Famer" to "SWAC" and "Swizzle" as appropriate monikers for Elfrid Payton, the former Eskimo defensive lineman who joins the Canadian Football Hall of Fame this year. With stops in Winnipeg, Shreveport, Baltimore, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton during his stellar 14 CFL seasons, Payton was an impact player and personality wherever he went. The Grambling product called it a career with 154 sacks, second on the CFL's all-time list. caught up with one of the CFL's legendary characters at his home in Louisiana.

What is your favorite memory of that 2002 season in Edmonton when you led the CFL in sacks and were named the league's Most Outstanding Defensive Player?

I was 35 years old and after playing in so many other places, I found that Edmonton was a first class organization, they did things the right way and I really enjoyed it. When I was released, it was a real shock because I really wanted to stay.

Is there a particular team or year that stands out for you more than any of the others?

1995 when I played in Baltimore. We won the Grey Cup and that was a special team. We were the only American team to win the Grey Cup and that was a definite highlight in my career.

You had great battles over the years with some O-linemen and quarterbacks, so any standout as particularly tough?

Uzooma Okeke in Montreal was tough. Earlier in my career, I would say Chris Walby and of course, Dave Hack. Those are the guys that really stick out.

Who was the toughest quarterback for you to track down?

Actually, the guy I had a problem getting to was probably the least athletic guy who ever played in the CFL. He had cinder blocks for feet and he goes by the name of Danny McManus. He got the ball away so quickly I couldn't get there in time.

Paul Jones, the Eskimos' Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, played a big role in bringing you to Canada?

I had gone to an All-Star game coming out of Grambling. We were working out in Houston before the All-Star game and a guy from the Ottawa organization gave me his card and he told me about the CFL. My sights were set on the NFL, but I didn't get drafted. I had a coach at Grambling by the name of Steve Dennis who had played in Saskatchewan (1977-'84) and he told me about Paul Jones, who was working for Winnipeg at the time. I went over to Louisiana Tech to work out for Paul. He was timing us in the 40-yard dash, but because he didn't have anyone else helping him that day, we moved it up five yards. Needless to say, I ran an awesome 40 time. Paul looked at my speed and said he'd have to get me in front of Bombers GM/Coach Cal Murphy. Later that night I ran a true 40 yd dash and they didn't cut me. I signed for $35,000 and the rest is history.

You played your entire professional career up North, do you have a favorite city?

Winnipeg will always be special. When I first got there I remember telling people back home that it didn't get dark until 10 o'clock at night. When I watch a baseball or basketball game and they're playing one of the Canadian teams, I find myself singing along to the Canadian anthem.

The actual induction ceremony can be very emotional for some players. Have you thought about how you'll feel that day?

I do have a real feeling of accomplishment, but I'm not sure it's really sunk in just yet. I am very proud and privileged to be acknowledged by the Hall of Fame and take my place alongside all the great players. I enjoyed all the places I played in Canada


-- statistics --



Elfrid Payton     Grambling
Yr Team Tkl Sack Fumb TD
1991 Wpg 37 6 2 0
1992 Wpg 27 6 1 0
1993 Wpg 29 22 2 1
1994 Spt 0 1 0 0
Balt 37 4 1 0
1995 Balt 40 18 4 0
1996 Mtl 21 6 0 0
1997 Ham 43 14 0 0
1998 Tor 42 16 0 0
1999 Tor 40 16 2 1
2000 Wpg 41 8 0 0
2001 Tor 41 15 4 1
2002 Edm 48 16 3 0
2003 Edm 2 1 0 0
2004 Wpg 35 5 0 0
Total 16 483 154 19 3