He's one of the greatest receivers in the history of Canadian football and the numbers bear witness. Heading into this weekend's games, Stegall had caught 137 touchdown passes, giving him a share of the CFL record with legendary running backs George Reed and Mike Pringle. The future Hall of Famer sat down with Sun Media's Kirk Penton this week:
Sun Media: Who's the best football player to come out of Miami University (Ohio)?
Stegall: Some people would say Ben Roethlisberger, and he did win a Super Bowl his second year. We had some good ones. You'd have to go way back, but I'm going to have to say me. I'm not conceited. I'm just honest. I'm going to have to go out on a limb and say Milt Stegall. We didn't have an explosive offence, but when I got my opportunities I actually was third in the NCAA my senior year in kickoff returns. A lot of people don't know about that. So when I got my opportunities I shined. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say Milt Stegall.
Sun Media: You bagged groceries at your parents' grocery store as a teen in Cincinnati. How fast were you?
Stegall: Back then it was all paper. There was no plastic. So sometimes I would put the bread underneath the sodas, but as time went on I got comfortable with it. I would do $30 worth of groceries in, like, a minute. I was pretty fast. I got pretty good at it.
Sun Media: Is it better to be the best CFL receiver or the second-best NFL receiver?
Stegall: Second-best in the NFL, because you're probably making a whole lot more money! That's a good question. I don't know if I'm the best right now. I didn't catch enough passes to be the hundred millionth-best in the NFL, but I would have to say best in the CFL.
Sun Media: How did you end up in the CFL?
Stegall: When I came out of college, Greg Mohns was holding an open workout in Cincinnati. I'm from Cincinnati. My school wasn't far away, and my agent told me I should go down there. Greg Mohns was with Hamilton. I went down there and ran a 4.4 flat, I caught every pass, and he offered me a contract on the spot for $65,000 or $70,000. My agent was like, 'No, let's see what happens with the NFL first.' That's when they had 12 rounds, but I went as a free agent to the Cincinnati Bengals. Opening kickoff, first game, I returned it for a touchdown and opened up some eyes, so I spent three years in Cincinnati. At the end of my third year my contract was up. I went and signed with Green Bay. They released me at the end of training camp, and I thought my football career was over. That's when my agent called and told me the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have your rights if you want to continue playing. I'm like, 'How did they get my rights?' And I come to find out Paul Jones had been scouting me and he put me on their neg list. And I came up here at the end of '95. I remember the first practice, Cal Murphy saying, 'You can't wear that long shirt and gloves out here. It's not cold.' That's the first thing I remember Cal Murphy telling me, and the rest is history."
Sun Media: You hold the Roger Bacon High School record for best average pass reception yardage in a season at 26.5 yards. What else do you remember about that 1987 season?
Stegall: We stunk it up. I remember my big game was against Purcell Marian. I had four catches for maybe 190 yards. The reason why is because it was Cover Zero and I was converting the route to the middle and the quarterback read me going to the middle.
Sun Media: What will it will feel like to be the CFL's touchdown king?
Stegall: When it happens, it won't hit me probably until after the year's over. There's so much I'm trying to achieve this year with this team. But I know it's going to be a nice feeling, don't get me wrong.