A farewell to some great CFL players, but even better people.

by Staff Writer – Jason Langvee

It seems that in the wake of the 2013 CFL season, many notable veterans of the league decided that the Grey Cup played in Regina would be the last championship they would compete for as professional players. Although there were many retirement announcements over the past few months, we thought it necessary to re-cap a few of the notable changes in the Canadian Football landscape with regards to legends leaving the game.

Marwan Hage was selected by the Tiger-Cats in second round of the 2004 CFL Draft. Hage was a two-time East Division All Star, a CFL All-Star in 2010, and a CFL Players’ Association All-Star in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013. Hage has also been a CFLPA Players’ representative since 2007, and has been a member of the CFL Players’ Association Executive since 2010. Marwan announced his retirement from the CFL on Monday, April 14th. Marwan will continue to serve players in the CFL as a Vice President of the CFL Players’ Association.

Scott Flory came to the CFL by way of the University of Saskatchewan, where he played all 4 years of his collegiate career. After a year of development, Scott earned a starting spot on the Alouette offensive line in 2000. By 2010, Scott had already hit the field for more than 200 games in the CFL! Scott has continued to excel as one of the top offensive lineman in the CFL since he first joined the Al’s. He has won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman twice, been selected the Eastern conference finalist 5 separate times (’03, ’05, ’06, ’08, ’09), selected as a CFL All-Star 9 times, and a CFLPA All-Star 6-times. Scott has also won 3 Grey Cups (in 2002, 2009, and 2010), after appearing in 8 championship games. Scott announced his retirement from football on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014, and will be eligible for the same Hall of Fame induction class as the quarterback he kept safe for the entirety of his career; Anthony Calvillo. Scott will continue serving his former CFL colleagues as the president of the CFL Players’ Association.

Patrick Kabongo played his collegiate football with the University of Nebraska as a defensive tackle. Since 2004, Kabongo has appeared in 33 regular season games and two more in the post-season for the BC Lions after joining the club during training camp in 2012. He spent seven previous seasons in Edmonton appearing in 121 games for the Green and Gold earning a West Division All-Star nod in 2008. Patrick also was part of the 2005 Grey Cup Championship team. On Thursday, May 15th, 2014 Patrick announced that he would be retiring from the Canadian Football League to begin his professional career after football.

Mike McCullough was originally selected by the Riders in the third round of the CFL draft in 2003. McCullough has since played in 185 career regular season games, including a streak of playing 110 straight games – ranking him 16th on the team’s all-time games played list. McCullough totaled 187 tackles, 113 special teams tackles, 11 sacks, and one interception. While with the Roughriders, McCullough has been the recipient of numerous awards for community service, including the club’s Mosaic Community Service Award in 2008 and 2009. McCullough was the team’s nominee for the Tom Pate Memorial Award in 2009 and 2010, and after the 2010 CFL season, McCullough was awarded the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Trophy. Last Friday, May 30th, 2014, Mike met media and announced his official retirement from the CFL.

In 1999 Geroy Simon joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Since then Simon has excelled with Winnipeg, B.C and Saskatchewan. He was the CFL’s outstanding player in ’06 with 105 catches for 1,856 yards and 15 TDs, capping that campaign with his first Grey Cup title. In his 15 seasons in the CFL, Geroy has amassed 3 Grey Cup rings (’06, ’11, ’13), 6 CFL All-Star nominations (’03, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’11), and most impressively set new career receiving yards, and reception records at 16,352 yards and 1,029 receptions, respectively. Geroy announced his retirement from professional football on Wednesday, June 5th, 2014, and will be eligible for the same Hall of Fame induction class as the all-time leading passer in professional football; Anthony Calvillo.

All of the players that have chosen to retire from the CFL this season left the league a changed landscape of Canadian Football. We can only wish the best of luck to these gentlemen as they strive to do the same in their lives after the game. Thanks for all of the great memories!

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