It isn’t often when a Canadian sparks interest in the National Football League. And even rarer still is when that Canadian is from Saskatchewan. But for seven seasons (1986 to 1993) Rueben Mayes of North Battleford, Saskatchewan did just that.
New Orleans Saints’ fans will know the name Rueben Mayes. He was a stellar running back who was named Rookie of the Year. In 1986 he rushed for over 1300 yards. He’d never hit that mark again in in five seasons with the Saints (in his last season with the Saints, he didn’t play) and two more with the Seattle Seahawks.
Mayes first gain notoriety at North Battleford Comprehensive High School, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. In 1980, he led the NBCHS Vikings to an undefeated season and SHSAA 3A Provincial Football Championship. Later, Mayes would play for the Washington State University Cougars, where he’d set rushing records and was voted All-American and tenth in Heisman Trophy voting. He established an NCAA rushing record in 1984, rushing for 357 yards in a game against Oregon which still remains a Pac-10 Record.
Mayes is currently the regional director for development for Sacred Heart Medical Centre in Eugene, Oregon. Mayes is one of three Saskatchewan residents to have played in the NFL, and the only African American to do so. While his achievements may not be as stellar as many would think in an NFL career, Mayes was Saskatchewan born and did the entire province proud with those he did establish.