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McManus says time with Hamilton Ticats was about ‘enjoying it no matter what the situation’

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Danny McManus launches a pass during CFL Eastern semi-final action against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Hamilton, Sunday Nov. 12, 2000. CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn

The quarterback who led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to their last Grey Cup victory, over two decades ago, says his entry into the franchise’s Wall of Honour is a reflection of the teammates who elevated his game.

Danny McManus and his number 14 are set to be enshrined on the west side of Tim Hortons Field Friday in a halftime ceremony during the Ticats’ game against Saskatchewan.

“I’ve never been a person to stand out in front and take all the glory and stuff like that,” McManus told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.

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“I’ve always been a team person and it’s a reflection of all the guys that I’ve had the opportunity to play football with that have supported me on and off the field.”

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McManus played 141 games over eight seasons (1998-2005) with the black and gold, winning a Grey Cup in 1999.

He holds the all-time franchise records in passing yards (33,841), passing touchdowns (164), pass completions (2,368) and pass attempts (4,257).

Drafted in the 11th round by the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs, McManus would make his way to the Canadian Football League (CFL), signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and contributing to a Grey Cup win in 1990.

The Dania Beach, Fla., native picked up a second Grey Cup with the BC Lions in 1994, spending a couple of seasons with Edmonton in 1996-97 before joining the Ticats in 1998.

McManus was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 1999 as well as a CFL all-star.

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Former wide receiver Darren Flutie, who played with the QB during stints with the Lions and Cats between 1993 and 2002, remembers a strong arm and calmness under pressure as McManus’s best traits.

The former roommates’ connection on the field began in ’94 during the Lions’ Grey Cup run, which produced a memorable moment when Darren caught a touchdown pass that would eliminate the favoured Calgary Stampeders and brother Doug in the post-season.

“We ended that … with a throw to get to the five and then the touchdown where he was just reading my mind that I was going to hook up and that was from all that practice we did together,” Darren Flutie recalled.

The pair would see similar success in the Ticats’ 1999 championship amid incentive to avenge a Grey Cup loss the previous season to the Stampeders.

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“I remember getting a lot of balls thrown to me (for) about two and a half quarters, and then Danny pumped on the brakes … because (he) didn’t want to give up the MVP. That’s what I remember,” Flutie suggested.

McManus playfully admits “he is accurate,” suggesting wide receiver Mike Morreale became his primary target amid a conversation about helping him in his quest for the Top Canadian honour.

“It’s funny. That’s the type of stuff we did is as players and being a part of the Ticat organization, out there having fun and enjoying it no matter what the situation was in the game,” McManus said.

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He announced his retirement as a player in 2007, picking up a coaching career in 2008 with Hamilton before departing to Winnipeg for an assistant general manager and director of U.S. scouting gig.

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McManus was inducted to the Canadian Footbal Hall of Fame in 2011 and the recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial award in 2005 for his outstanding work in the Hamilton community, headlined by work with McMaster children’s hospital through the Touchdown for Kids initiative.

His legacy also includes a Canada Post campaign in 2012 promoting the 100th Grey Cup with his image on a series of commemorative postage stamps.

McManus will be the 25th person inducted onto the Ticats Wall of Honour.

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