Former Iowa QB earns CFL team award

Kenny Ploen earns Ring of Honour nod by Winnipeg

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Former Iowa quarterback Kenny Ploen will be inducted into the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Ring of Honour, the Canadian Football League team announced Monday.

Ploen, 81, becomes the second member of the team’s Ring of Honour, joining Chris Walby. Ploen already was a charter member of the Blue Bombers’ Hall of Fame. The ceremony is Thursday during the Blue Bombers’ game against Edmonton.

“This is really a tribute to the team we had back then,” Ploen said in a statement. “And we had a great team because it was a team in the purest sense of the word. It was full of good Canadians and Americans and we got along great together and played well together. I’m very humbled about it.”

Ploen directed Iowa to its first Rose Bowl in 1956 and then spurned the Cleveland Browns to play for Winnipeg in the CFL. As a rookie, Ploen became the West Division all-star quarterback. Two years later, he was named an all-star at defensive back after intercepting 10 passes. He also was an all-star quarterback in 1965.

“Ken Ploen retired as the league’s sixth all-time leading passer and fifth on the Bombers’ all-time rushing list,” said Blue Bombers President and CEO Wade Miller in a statement. “We felt it was more than fitting to include such an exemplary former Blue Bomber in the Ring of Honour, and the fans agreed.”

Under Coach Bud Grant, who later guided the Minnesota Vikings to four NFC titles, Ploen helped the Blue Bombers to Grey Cup titles in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. He never considered playing in the NFL and continues to live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“Once I got up here and got settled in, it’s a pretty nice spot,” Ploen told The Gazette in December.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@thegazette.com

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