O'Mahony keeps mum

While he was willing to talk about football yesterday, Duncan O'Mahony stayed away from answering...

While he was willing to talk about football yesterday, Duncan O'Mahony stayed away from answering the tough questions revolving around his disappearance in Calgary last year. (Sun Media/Al Charest)

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

It was this time last year Duncan O'Mahony abandoned his team, his sport, his career and his family.

While en route from Abbotsford to Winnipeg to attend camp with the Blue Bombers, the embattled punter/placekicker disappeared during a layover in Calgary. Airline officials were forced to delay the flight to Winnipeg while his luggage was unloaded from the plane, sparking a nationwide hunt that had his family and the Bombers pleading for the public's help.

Some feared the former Stamp and B.C. Lion had been a victim of foul play until he called his family 68 hours after vanishing.

A "friend" was quoted in an Abbotsford paper suggesting O'Mahony was "struggling emotionally" with being cut by the Lions and spent the weekend in Calgary with a friend. Rumours of much deeper issues swirled in the football community and still do.

However, after a year of intense introspection O'Mahony is back in the game, hoping to resurrect his career by beating out Stamps all-star punter Burke Dales. And he insists the whispers don't bother him.

"That weekend will never be disclosed," said O'Mahony after opening camp yesterday. "The organization has taken the stance that the past is the past and we're living in the present. We're here to talk football and I'll talk football."

When asked if some of the rumours regarding his disappearance were true, he scoffed.

"I think, on your part, it's a very unprofessional question and a loaded question," said O'Mahony of the obvious queries he knew he'd face upon his return.

Truth is, it was the 30-year-old kicker who was guilty of being unprofessional when he disappeared -- and he now knows it.

"I worried a lot of people and didn't act very mature the way I did it," admitted O'Mahony. "The bottom line is that I was in a state of disarray where I didn't know what I wanted to do. Far too long in my career I did too many things for other people instead of what's best for Duncan. My college buddies would have killed to be in my position but I didn't look at it that way. I needed to get out of the limelight to make decisions for myself. I handled it unprofessionally but it was like a weight was lifted and I knew I was taking the first steps towards figuring out what I wanted to do with my life."

Spending his time soul-searching, the colourful kicker said it was October when he realized he wanted to play again.

"In my first five years I'd been to two Grey Cups, won one, been an all-star and so in my mind I'd done everything I wanted to do," said the UBC grad. "I was contemplating if I wanted to get a real 9-to-5 job because I wasn't having fun anymore. A year off and away from everyone really grounded me. I did something every human being should probably do in their life and very few people get to do. I had to be selfish to figure out if I wanted to play anymore. Now I'm happier, in control of my life and 110 percent sure I want to be here."

Sought after by Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, O'Mahony chose Calgary because he figured the competition would make up for the year he lost.

"I feel fortunate any team offered me a contract," said O'Mahony, written off by many in the league last year. "I'm not content to be here, I'm happy to be here. I feel like a rookie again. I have that enthusiasm and that's a big difference. The game is still the same, the field is the same dimensions and the ball is the same shape."

And until he sets the record straight, the rumours will remain the same, as well.


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