Born: April 3, 1967 (Carson, California)
Died: March 1, 2015 (Torrance, California)
Brett Young spent five seasons in the CFL as a defensive back with three different teams.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound athlete was a CFL East all-star with the Ottawa Rough Riders, the team he joined in 1989. He also played in 11 games for the B.C. Lions before ending his career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1996.
Young came to the CFL after spending four years at the University of Oregon with the Ducks, where the cornerback was cut from the team after flunking out. He had nine career interceptions at the school. He was selected in the NFL’s supplemental draft by the Buffalo Bills, but did not make the team.
The player blamed himself for not being more rigorous in completing his studies.
“I’d get myself in trouble being lazy in the first part of the term, and then I’d have to bail myself out in the second half,” he told the Eugene Register-Guard in 1989.
In 1992, the Rough Riders traded Young to the Lions for future considerations (which turned out to be the rights to lineman Bruce Beaton), though he returned to Ottawa to play a final game for the team that season. He signed a three-year contract the following year, making about $60,000 per year.
Young was named Ottawa’s outstanding defensive player in 1995, but he was traded in the offseason to Hamilton with Horace Brooks and Jason Phillips for quarterback Steve Taylor.
“When the trade came I was really hurt because I’d spent so long there, never made any noise about what was going on internally,” Young told Jeff Dickins of the Hamilton Spectator in 1996.
For his part, Ticat head coach Don Sutherin was delighted to get the all-star defensive back.
“Brett fits in perfectly — a very unassuming but a leader by example,” the coach told Dickins. “He’s around the ball a lot, a big-play guy.”
Young was getting dialysis and awaiting a kidney transplant when he died, aged 47.