Napastuk calls it a career

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Minutes after deciding to retire from the Calgary Stampeders, Sheldon Napastuk took a moment to indulge.

Because he knew there would be no more chasing quarterbacks, the lineman instead tackled a healthy bowl of maple walnut ice cream.

Napastuk certainly deserved to let loose after a eight-year CFL career in which he was a steady force at nose tackle, one of the dirty, unsung positions on a football team.

"It was awesome," said Napastuk about slipping immediately into retirement mode. "It hit me that I can start relaxing now. I have a buddy here who goes camping every summer. I haven't done that in years."

Among a multitude of changes for the Stampeders this off-season, Napastuk was told the team is heading a new direction at his position.

The decision was easy to stay in Calgary and give up playing. The 32-year-old has a new job as a salesman for Barclay Street Real Estate and his wife Amanda is expecting their first child in November.

"This place is home," Napastuk said. "It didn't make sense for us to leave."

Napastuk's retirement means the Stamps will have a completely new starting defensive line this season. Both defensive ends Demetrious Maxie (retired) and Rahim Abdullah (free agent) have moved on as well.

The new starting three will come from returnees Terrence Patrick, Randy Chevrier and Miguel Robede or free-agent newcomers.

"It's probably time for the next generation to take over," Napastuk said. "As a player, all you ever want is for an organization is to honest with you.

"Would I like to play another year? Sure. I've been training and I'm ready to go.

"But they had to make a decision and gave me the option of what I wanted to do. I respect that."

However, Napastuk did leave the door open to return if the Stamps get into a dire situation with injuries. He finishes his career with 126 games played and 26 sacks. His only regret is not winning a Grey Cup.

However, he walks away satisfied.

"There's always emotion because I played so many years and been through so many battles," Napastuk said. "But everything I have I owe to the game."

The Stamps also released import receiver Elijah Thurmon yesterday because of a glut of talent at that position.


Videos

Photos