Chris Getzlaf said he got to “live out his dream,” as he announced his retirement from football with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In a room full of family, friends and former teammates, Getzlaf reminisced about his time in the green and white and career spanning 11 seasons and four Grey Cup appearances.
Of course, the greatest highlight of that lengthy career was winning the 2013 Grey Cup in front of the hometown fans as well as his family and friends.
Getzlaf played Regina Minor Football, attended Robert Usher Collegiate in the city’s north end and played for the Rams all before being drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
He was later traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“It meant I got to live out my dream to accomplish several of my goals and all the while doing that playing for a team I grew up (with) and playing at home,” Getzlaf said.
Getzlaf, 34, spent most of his CFL career with his hometown team, winning two Grey Cups with the green and white in 2007 and 2013.
He described the 2013 Grey Cup in Regina as the “highlight of my career.”
Getzlaf’s was named the Most Valuable Canadian in the 2013 Grey Cup. While that remains a top moment, he has many other great memories from his 11-year career, including his first chance to start against Calgary.
“I got to go in and I ended up scoring a touchdown with a minute and a half to go – it was 60 yards or something with a minute-and-a-half to go and it allowed us to go ahead and eventually win that game,” he recalled on Thursday.
Getzlaf is ranked fifth all-time for the Roughiders with 5,694 receiving yards and sixth all-time with 37 regular season passing touchdowns.
The team did not re-sign the Canadian receiver after the 2015 season, so Getzlaf joined the Edmonton Eskimos in 2016 before returning to the Riders briefly at the end of the 2017 season.
He got a little bit emotional as he was surrounded by friends and former teammates at his retirement announcement including Weston Dressler, Dan Clark, Brendon Labatte and Paul Woldu.
“It means a lot, just goes to show the kind of support I’ve had from those people throughout my career and to have them here on this day means a lot because they’ve been here for a lot of the stepping stones in my career and a lot of them have been here since day,” Getzlaf said.
Dressler said he has a hard time describing all the years he spent as Getzlaf’s teammate.
“It’s a lot of good years, he became a really good friend of mine. A guy I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life and really a guy I learned a lot form early on in my career,” Dressler said.
In retirement Getzlaf plans to stay in Regina with his wife, Tia, and focus on his career as a financial planner.