Lion shows his pride

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Dave Dickenson heard all the whispers regarding the 'R' word.

When the B.C. Lions quarterback was sitting out nearly three months with yet another concussion, there was speculation he would be better off retiring.

There are more important things than football and having a clear head is one of them.

Several times, the veteran considered it, usually on days where he couldn't read or watch TV because of the headaches.

He has a young family, has won the Grey Cup twice, collected the game's MVP award and has a most outstanding player award on his resume.

All good reasons to hang 'em up. Another is he has nothing left to prove in the CFL.

"A lot of it makes sense," said Dickenson. "But I didn't want to get into something like that mid-year. I went through camp and we have a good team, so I want to be part of it.

"That's the reason I'm back. All the other stuff, I can handle it in the off-season. I just thought there was no way I could retire while I was feeling crappy. Wait until I'm healthy and my head is clear."

Yet, here he is tonight, ready to play against the Calgary Stampeders at B.C. Place Stadium (8 p.m., TSN) in what essentially is a meaningless game for both clubs.

Jarious Jackson will get the start for the Lions as they try to stay sharp with a week off before hosting the West final Nov. 18 against the winner of the Stampeders and Roughriders matchup.

There are three games left in Dickenson's season and then he will face the same questions about retirement.

Injuries aside, Dickenson can still play, evidenced by his first pass in returning last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- a beautiful 29-yard touchdown strike to Jason Clermont.

Still, the Lions may decide to move on and go with younger pivots Buck Pierce and Jackson.

"The decision could be made for me," Dickenson said. "I'm not a guy who will just go to any team. I don't know what the Lions will do.

"Jarious is a free agent, Buck has his deal and I have my contract. Things will take care of themselves. Who knows how the year will end.

"If it goes real well for me, they might want me back. If it doesn't, if they want to go another direction, we'll deal with that when it comes up."

Last night on TSN's Friday Night Football, analyst Chris Schultz gave Dickenson a thumbs down for even playing against the Ticats and risking further injury.

But Dickenson was cleared to play and feels he's not doing the Lions any good dressing and not being ready to go in and perform to his ability.

Jackson will likely be the starter for the West final, but Dickenson wants to be ready just in case he is needed.

"I want to sharpen up and play but I need to make my snaps count," Dickenson said. "I don't need a lot of time because I've played a lot of football.

"I probably could have played three weeks ago but I'm glad I waited as long as I did. Physically, I'm just not where I need to be in terms of strength and conditioning.

"Ultimately, it's best that I get some work in because you never know what can happen and I may have to be the guy. I'm trying to make sure the guys have confidence in me."


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