Pilon hangs up cleats

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

Jeff Pilon is convinced he had a couple more years of football left in his body.

The Calgary Stampeders starting right tackle wasn’t so sure a post-football job would be ready for him when the time was up.

So this was the right time to walk away from the CFL.

A 10-year veteran of

147 games, Pilon retired Friday to join former teammate Jamie Crysdale’s Gridiron Blasting as a field manager.

“In the CFL, there is never job security,” the 34-year-old Pilon said. “I’m getting on in years when it comes to football. In the next couple of years, I would be looking for a job in the real world.

“This job came up and

I could not turn it down. This is a chance to give my family the support they deserve.”

Pilon was drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1999, but he was traded to Calgary before playing a game there.

He played one game in 2000 before emerging as a starter at tackle in 2002 and starting a 74-game streak that lasted until 2006.

A 2005 West Division all-star, Pilon said goodbye to the game Friday wearing Grey Cup rings from 2001 and 2008. He didn’t play in the 2001 win but was a starter two years ago in Montreal.

The 6-foot-6, 320-lb. Pilon said he won’t miss the two-a-days during training camp but that it’s tough to walk away from his friends in the trenches.

“I can’t wait to come out and watch these guys run their 40s and do benches,” Pilon said. “I would love to come out and start harassing them. I’m going to miss every minute of it.

“I will miss competing and being with the guys in the locker-room. Everything to do with being out on that field, I’m going to miss.

“Hopefully, one day, I will see my son play somewhere so I can feel that rush again.”


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