Chris Schultz, who played in both the NFL and CFL and eventually became a popular television football analyst, died on Thursday at the age of 61.
The native of Burlington, Ont., played left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys from 1983-86 and then nine seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup in 1991.
He was a two-time CFL all-star and was selected to the Argos' all-time team in 2007.
“Chris Schultz was made to play football, or football was made for Chris Schultz. Either way it was a symbiotic relationship,” former teammate and current Argonauts GM Michael 'Pinball' Clemons said in a statement. “At 6’7”, 310 or so muscled pounds, he was tenacious, prepared and dominant! His vigorous preparation both mentally and physically honored his profession. It would probably be fair to say, that football was his first love. He played for America’s team, and Canada’s team, we can argue about the latter of the two tomorrow, but not today. His passion reverberated on radio, television, coaching kids, or walking the dog. He was always willing to talk football! His friends, family and teammates were all in his locker room, where loyalty abounds. My good friend John Candy and I spoke highly of Schultzy often. I’m disappointed because he had more to give, and my fervent hope is, he knew how much he was loved. I’m extending a warm virtual hug to the Argonaut and CFL family today.”
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie issued a statement following Schultz's death on Monday as well:
"We called Chris Schultz the Big Man for so many reasons beyond the obvious. He had a big personality. He could make you think as easily as he could make you laugh. He had a big presence on CFL on TSN, breaking down each game with incredible passion, insight and joy.
"He had a football career so big it included both Canada’s Grey Cup and America’s Team. But most of all, my teammate and friend had a big heart. It was oversized even for his frame.
"It was so clearly on display in his tireless work on behalf of Purolator Tackle Hunger. When he spoke publicly about working at and with food banks, and what it meant to him and to families in need, Chris’ sincerity and empathy moved everyone. Those moments not only made the program stronger. They made everyone who experienced them want to be better, to be more like Chris.
"His passing leaves a giant-sized hole in the CFL Family. Let’s resolve to fill it the way Chris filled his time with us: with passion, positivity and kindness. Let’s all resolve to be bigger people for having known, and loved, the Big Man."
When his playing career ended he turned his attention to working in television and became a mainstay on CFL on TSN broadcasts on The Sports Network. He hosted "Risky Business", making weekly NFL picks, and was part of TSN's Grey Cup and Super Bowl coverage for many years.
Schultz was also known as a passionate spokesperson as part of the Purolator Tackle Hunger program, dedicated to supporting local food banks across Canada.
Schultz was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.