Concussions spell end to Dickenson's CFL career
League's 2000 most outstanding player 'at peace' with decision
Even though he wasn't at the controls when the Calgary Stampeders captured the 96th Grey Cup in November at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Dave Dickenson couldn't have asked for a much better end to his CFL career.
A series of injuries during his 10 seasons, including multiple concussions, made it impossible for the veteran quarterback to return to the field of battle and forced him into retirement on Wednesday.
"The time is right," an emotional Dickenson said at a news conference in Calgary. "I'm at peace with the decision and I feel privileged to have the career I've had. Everything went down exactly like I wanted — I'm ending my career in the same place it started and we won a Grey Cup in my final year."
Dickenson, 36, was unable to get medical clearance during the 2008 season after attempting just nine passes and described his career as "quality not quantity."
Dickenson, who broke into the CFL with Calgary in 1997 and later played five seasons with the B.C. Lions, said he wished he could have completed one 18-game season.
The five-foot-11, 190-pound signal-caller won three Grey Cups in his career and was named most valuable player of the 2006 CFL championship after connecting on 18 of 29 passes for 184 yards and running for another 53 yards in the Lions' 25-14 win over Montreal.
Dickenson passed for a career 22,913 yards and 154 touchdowns with 50 interceptions. He also completed 66.9 per cent of his passes, which places Dickenson first on the all-time CFL list for retired players.
The CFL's most outstanding player in 2000, he spent time over the next two seasons in the National Football League with the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions before returning to the CFL.
Dickenson spent time as a backup and never saw game action during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Upon his return to Canada, he threw 36 touchdowns and a career-high 5,496 yards for B.C.
Dickenson was injured for much of 2004, but was selected in a controversial decision by Lions head coach Wally Buono to start the Grey Cup over Casey Printers — now with Hamilton — and starred in his absence.
The Lions fell 27-19 to Toronto at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa, but would beat Montreal two years later in the Grey Cup, thanks in large part to Dickenson.
The 2006 season would be his last full campaign as injuries in 2007 led the Lions to turn to Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson behind centre, while Dickenson later returned to the Stampeders.