Paul McCallum says the pull of his hometown was a big reason he decided to sign a one-day contract so he can retire as a B.C. Lion.
The 46-year-old kicker and Surrey native spent 12 of his 23 CFL seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but racked up the majority of his career highlights in 11-plus seasons with B.C.
Couldn't be happier
"It was not an easy choice to retire as a Lion, but growing up not far from the practice facility,and having an opportunity to win two Grey Cups with my hometown team makes this the right decision for me." he said. "I couldn't be happier."
Over 23 years McCallum's leg earned him a number of awards and notable accomplishments:
- 2 Grey Cup titles — 2006, 2011.
- 2 CFL All Star team nominations — 2010, 2011.
- Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian — 2006.
- Made all six field goal attempts in 2006 Grey Cup, tying a CFL record.
- CFL Most Outstanding Special Teams Player — 2011.
- Longest field goal in CFL history — 62 yards.
- Second-highest CFL career point total — 3,131.
- Only CFL player to face all three Ottawa teams in a career (Rough Riders, Renegades and RedBlacks).
"Paul's consistency and longevity make him one of the greatest kickers to have ever played in our league," said Lions' general manager and head coach Wally Buono, noting McCallum is an automatic Hall of Famer.
"He began his career in the shadow of Lui Passaglia and he finished his playing days as just one of two players in professional football to have ever recorded more than 3,000 points," said Buono.
The manure incident
In a career full of highlights, there was one memorable low point.
In the 2004 Western Final McCallum — then playing for Saskatchewan — missed a chip-shot 18-yard field goal in overtime, allowing B.C. to advance to the Grey Cup.
What happened in the aftermath attracted international media attention.
McCallum received death threats and his Regina home was vandalized, and — the most infamous detail — one disgruntled fan also missed the target by dumping manure on his neighbour's property.
The Lions plan to recognize McCallum at the first regular season home game on June 25.