Jason Tucker has called an end to his playing career, but he isn't walking away from the Edmonton Eskimos.
The former standout CFL receiver, who suffered a career-ending neck injury last season, announced his retirement as a player on Wednesday. At the same time, new head coach Richie Hall announced Tucker, 32, would join his staff as the club's receivers coach.
One of the most prolific receivers in Eskimos history, Tucker was a four-time league and West Division all-star. He was also the MVP of the 2003 Grey Cup and finished his playing career with 7,046 yards in receiving, fourth on the Eskimos' all-time list.
"Jason brings a great work ethic and ability to compete at a high level," Hall said. "And he also has a high level of respect from his teammates.
"The thing is, Jason wants to continue to pass on the things that were passed on to him when he was a player, and that tells you about the type of person he is."
Tucker was taken off the field during the third quarter of the Eskimos' 19-13 win over Hamilton last July after a scary helmet-to-helmet hit with the Tiger-Cats' Jykine Bradley.
Tucker suffered a fractured and dislocated vertebra in the incident and was taken to a Hamilton hospital, where it was discovered that he hadn't damaged his spinal cord but did require season-ending surgery.
A sixth-round pick of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals in 1998, Tucker was in his seventh season with the Eskimos and was part of their 2003 and 2005 Grey Cup-winning teams.
In the off-season, Danny Macioca stepped down as Edmonton's head coach to become the club's full-time director of football operations. He then hired Hall — who spent the previous 15 seasons as an assistant with the Saskatchewan Roughriders — to replace him on the sidelines.With files from the Canadian Press