Being hip-deep in hoops coverage means being late to acknowledge the death of J.I. Albrecht, the legendary CFL personnel man.
He gave Marv Levy a chance to coach a pro team with the original Alouettes in the '70s, he gave Pinball Clemons the chance to be the first black head coach in the CFL and he almost brought a team to Halifax.
The one, the only Earl McRae was not only the first writer who took the time to visit with Albrecht when it was clear his time was running out, but he was probably the only one to whom Albrecht revealed his real name. That column from June 2, 2007 is now up for an Ontario Newspaper Award; re-reading it still brings chill bumps.
This isn't how a legend should end (Earl McRae, Ottawa Sun, June 2, 2007)
CFL legend J.I. Albrecht passes away (Dave Gross, Canwest News Service)