Chris Getzlaf says he has a lot of football yet to play and is looking forward to joining the Edmonton Eskimos after almost 20 years of playing the game in Regina, most recently as a professional CFL receiver with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Getzlaf spoke Friday about his recent signing with the Eskimos, who sought him out after he became a free agent.
Getzlaf said the Roughriders had already told him they would not be needing him for the upcoming season.
'I have a lot of ball left in me and at no point in time did I ever contemplate retiring.' - Chriz Getzlaf
"They were nice enough to let me know that they weren't going to be offering me anything, so I could wrap my head around being somewhere else," he said.
Getzlaf said he felt the Saskatchewan club, which has an all-new coaching staff, has a strategy that doesn't include him.
"They had a vision of what the team would look like [and] unfortunately I wasn't going to be in that vision," Getzlaf said.
"But to each their own. It's a group of people that had a lot of success in this league [and] they obviously have something in mind that's going to continue that success."
Getzlaf, 33, played in four levels of football growing up in Regina. He went from minor to junior football, then to university and professional ranks (starting off as a draft selection by Hamilton before being traded to the Saskatchewan).
"Not everybody gets to play that amount of time anywhere," Getzlaf said of his career. "But also in the city that you grew up in and the team you grew up cheering. There's a lot of memories that will never be forgotten."
Getzlaf added he is in excellent shape.
"I know I have a lot of ball left in me and at no point in time did I ever contemplate retiring," he said. "I'm excited for the new opportunity."
He added the Eskimos thought highly of not only his playing abilities but other qualities that lift the team.
"They really thought a lot of what I do for the community and thought that I was a character guy, and I would add instantly to the talent they have on their team,' he said. "Those kind of conversations are appealing to a player."
Getzlaf said he will take a lot of memories with him to Edmonton. In addition to life-long friendships with teammates, he said a favourite highlight of Regina was being part of a championship win in his hometown.
"Winning the Grey Cup at home, I don't think you can really top that," he said. "A hometown guy getting to play for the team that he grew up cheering for and getting to hoist the Grey Cup in front of that kind of crowd."