Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Jesse Lumsden Retires

Jesse Lumsden announced his retirement from the CFL today. He has decided to concentrate on his bobsleigh career instead.

Much like with Adriano Belli, the best thing for me to say about Lumsden is nothing at all. I was not a fan of his in the least, but also like Adriano Belli, I will refrain from bashing the guy on his way out the door.

That said, even an unabashed Lumsden supporter would say that his career will be defined by one word: injuries.

Lumsden seemed to have all the skills necessary to be a rare specimen in the CFL, a Canadian playing a predominantly American position. Lumsden had a combination of power and speed that would make many current Running Backs jealous. I vividly recall watching Lumsden do some amazing things on the football field. I will fondly remember that summer night in Toronto in 2008 when he ripped off a couple of long runs that helped the Cats crush the Argos at the Rogers Centre SkyDome. As much as I didn't like Lumsden, I would never deny his talent.

But injuries were always a factor. Lumsden never played a full season in the CFL, and his last two years (one with Edmonton, one with Calgary) ended because of injury. In his lone year in Edmonton, Lumsden was injured in the first half of his first game. Many thought that was the end, or at least they thought it should be the end.

But he came back again last year, signing with Calgary late in the season. But once again, injuries forced him from the field, this time for good. In his third game back, Lumsden suffered a knee injury that ended his season and, now, his career.

But it was Hamilton that Lumsden spent most of his time. A first-round draft pick by the Ti-Cats in 2005, Lumsden played four seasons with Hamilton, his first two following failed attempts to make the NFL, and his second two ending early because of injuries. Lumsden was seen as somewhat of a saviour for the Ti-Cats because he was a local product, having been raised in Burlington and having attended McMaster University. A lot was expected of Lumsden, but he never lived up to the hype because his body simply wouldn't let him.

Injuries, not the lure of bobsleigh, ended Jesse Lumsden's career. Had he been able to stay healthy, he likely would have enjoyed a massively successful CFL career. Instead, football fans from coast to coast will always wonder one thing:

What if?

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