Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Roughriders veteran Neal Hughes retiring

Veteran full-back and Roughriders' fan favourite, Neal Hughes announced he's retiring this morning.

Hughes played 140 regular season games with Roughriders and helped team win 2 Grey Cups

Neal Hughes calls opportunity to play with hometown Riders 'unbelievable' . 1:10

Regina's own Neal Hughes is retiring from the CFL.

The 11-year veteran fullback debuted with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in July 2004 and played 140 regular season games with the club.

"Growing up watching the Riders from section 205 and being on the field playing for a team you grew up dreaming of playing for it's unbelievable," Hughes said to a room full of past and present teammates at a press conference this morning.

Hughes is also a two-time Grey Cup champion, winning rings with the team in 2007 and 2013.

He spent his entire career in green and white and earned a reputation as a fan favourite.

Hughes got his start with Regina Minor Football at the age of seven. He said he fell in love with football because of his very first coach and the feeling he got winning a city championship.

"(I) had my nice little rat tail mullet flowing from my helmet and everybody lifted me up and it was like a scene from Rudy all these big kids were lifting me up and it was pretty cool," he said. 

After Regina Minor Football, Hughes went on to play for the Regina's Thom Collegiate Trojans and the Regina Rams before signing with the Riders as a free agent.

Some of the statistical highlights from his Roughriders tenure include being the third all-time in special teams tackles with 100, totaling 70 carries for 277 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, and adding 46 catches for 505 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Hughes said retiring will allow him to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

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