Les Lear was born in North Dakota, but came to Winnipeg and Canada at a age ten. Lear played junor football with the Deerlodge Juniors and attended the University of Manitoba in 1936, before being recruited by the Bombers. Lear played with Winnipeg from 1937 to 1943*, before going to play in the NFL for four years from 1944 to 1947 with the Cleveland Rams, Los Angelas Rams and the Detroit Lions. Lear is credited with being the first Canadiand developed player to play in the NFL. Lear returned to the CFL in 1948 with Calgary as their coach and played Offensive Guard and Linebacker*. Individual stats were first kept in the West in 1950, but as an offensive lineman, Lear would not have generated much in the way of stats anyway. What can be said, however, is that Lear was a big part of three Grey Cup victories, two with Winnipeg (1939 and 1941), and one with Calgary in 1948. That 1948 Grey Cup was the year Calgary fans and their horses went East to Toronto, and is often credited with being the start of the modern football era in Canada. At the very least, it transformed the Grey Cup in a major national event. The 1948 Grey Cup is also remembered for having the only sleleper play in cup history, and Lear is generally given the credit for engineering the play that put Calgary into the lead. Lear won only one official West All-Star selection at Guard in 1941, but named to the unofficial Lional Conacher All-Canadian team in 1939, 1941 and 1942 as well as the MacLeans Magazine All-Canadian team in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942. Les Lear was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of fame in 1974.
Candadian Football HOF Biography for Les Lear
NFL Stats for Les Lear
Lear Aquitted of Charge by Magistrate - August 8, 1952
Hayman Anxious to Get Les Lear
Official games played stats were not kept in the West until 1964.
* There are some discrepancies in the years and information about Les Lear. The Canadian Football Hall of Fame biography lists Lear with Winnipeg only from 1938 to 1941 and the Winnipeg RCAF Bomber from 1942 to 1943. The latter was really just a temporary name change because of the war. Other sources have Lear playing with the Bombes in 1937as well. The biography does not mention him as playing with Calgary. The Calgary All-Time Roster in their media guides lists Lear as a player, however, from 1948 to 1950. One account of the 1948 Grey Cup game [The Grey Cup Story by Jack Sullivan] states Lear played 50 minutes at Guard and Linebacker in the 1948 Grey Cup game. The NFL databases list Lear's college as Manitoba but he apparently only attended one year in 1936, and it is not clear if he played football there. There is no mention of that in his HOF biography..