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Justin Morrow, TFC Legend

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JMo was one in a million. His presence will be felt by TFC faithful for generations.

Justin Morrow thanks the fans during his curtain call, before being subbed off for the last time at BMO Field.
(Sean Pollock/Waking The Red)

Justin Morrow is special.

It takes a special kind of athlete to provide both attacking power and defensive solidity on such a consistent basis. He blazed the trail in MLS for the modern, corner-to-corner fullback. Now every team in the league requires it.

It takes a special kind of player to come to a new country, gel with his teammates during an otherwise difficult time, and have an integral role in our climb to the mountaintop. He never got the DP tag, salary or stardom, but his importance to Toronto FC’s success was worth millions.

It takes a special kind of person to witness yet another act of violent brutality against someone who looks like him, and respond with compassionate, committed and organized leadership. He continues to forge an enduring legacy of change in MLS and North American sport and society.

And it takes a special kind of man to know that his body just can’t compete at the same level anymore, to embrace the reality of aging, the writing-on-the-wall of reduced minutes. It takes a special kind of man to know when to step back, step away, and let the next generation of TFC players take the spotlight. Some heroes wear cleats, and some also know when it’s time to hang them up.

An athlete is remembered for the way they arrive, the way they play and live, and the way they leave the field. We will always remember Justin Morrow as a Legend of the Toronto Football Club.