Barron Miles never thought the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg would play a role in book ending his Canadian Football League playing career.
Miles, the Edmonton Eskimos’ defensive backs coach, and former Eskimos kicker Hank Ilesic were among those named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Wednesday night at CFL Week in Winnipeg.
Miles is staying at the Delta this week and that’s where he was when he got the call that took him back to his rookie season.
“In ’98, my first year in the league, I was up for rookie of the year. The Grey Cup was in Winnipeg that year and we had the awards show and I was staying at the Delta Hotel by the Elephant and Castle, and 20 years later I’m getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and I’m staying at the Delta Hotel next to the Elephant and Castle.”
LISTEN: Eskimos DB’s coach Baron Miles speaks with Morley Scott about his Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction:
Over his 189 games the 5-foot-9 defensive back out of Nebraska had 66 interceptions to tie with Larry Highbaugh for second place all time in the CFL. The only player with more is Less Browne, who had 87 and was one of the first people Miles met when he came to Canada for his first training camp in Montreal.
“Less Browne was a guest coach my rookie year in Montreal, so I heard from him every day, ‘Hey you’re going to break my record one day.’ That’s all he kept saying.”
That motivated Miles to always look for the pick.
“It was just a fun thing to do (interceptions). Guys had a hard time doing it but for me it was just something I had to hang my hat on.”
Miles also went after the ball on special teams and is the CFL’s all-time leader in blocked kicks with 13.
“It’s a great great honour,” said Miles, who will be officially inducted later this year.
“The work I put in over the years, I always wanted to be known as one of the top DBs in the league and when anyone talks about great DBs, I want my name to come up.”
Ilesic was born in Edmonton and joined the Eskimos out of high school to win five straight Grey Cups. He went on to win two more with the Toronto Argonauts.
Ilesic played 19 season and is third all-time in punting yards in the CFL.
Barron Miles and Hank Ilesic will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame at the Hall of Fame game on Sept. 15, when Hamilton plays host to Calgary.