10/31/2013 10:39 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Former Toronto Argonauts star Ulysses (Crazy Legs) Curtis dies at age 87

TORONTO - Former Toronto Argonauts running back Ulysses (Crazy Legs) Curtis, a two-time Grey Cup champion and the team's first black player, has died. He was 87.

Curtis died Oct. 6 in Toronto, the Argonauts said Thursday in a statement. There was no word on the cause of death.

Curtis played for the CFL team from 1950 to '54. He dressed in 57 regular-season games and made nine playoff game appearances, winning titles in '50 and '52.

"On the field Ulysses was one of the best natural runners I have ever seen," said former teammate Nick Volpe, now the team's football operations consultant. "His nickname Crazy Legs came to be because when he ran his knees would go so high that he would sometimes knock the ball out of his own hands.

"Off of the field, he was very quiet and very intelligent. My locker was beside his for a couple of years and I always enjoyed listening to his perspectives on life. He will be missed."

Curtis, a native of Albion, Mich., was one of the most productive running backs in the organization's 140-year history.

He's fourth on the team's career rushing yards list with 3,712, a total he accumulated in only 529 attempts for a remarkable average of 7.0 yards per carry. Curtis also holds the second-best single-game rushing total in team history with 208 yards (behind Gill Fenerty's 215-yard game in 1988).

Curtis retired after the 1954 season and went on to work as a teacher in the north Toronto school system for 30 years.

He was named an All-Time Argo by the club in 2005. Curtis was buried on Oct. 16 in Albion, and is survived by two siblings, his wife Catherine, their three children, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.