Resilient Thelwell holds head high

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

CALGARY - There's a good chance Ryan Thelwell is walking away from football, but at least he's walking.

And he can do it with his head held high.

A year ago, the Calgary Stampeders receiver had a bleak future in the game, as he was coming off a torn Achilles tendon.

On Monday, the 37-year-old had the tough task of cleaning out his locker -- likely for the last time -- but at least when he retires it will be on his own terms and not due to injury.

Plenty of players wouldn't have come back, but Thelwell put in the work and suited up for 13 games plus the CFL's West Final, con-t r ibuted where he could and helped the team to a first-place finish in the West Division.

"This wasn't the season I wanted, but I was out there with the boys and I made it through," said an emotional Thelwell. "There were times last year when I didn't think I would walk straight.

"I made it through the season. I'm thankful that I got to play with this great group of guys. Being here cleaning out the locker is one of the hardest things I've ever done."

The 20-16 West Final loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders stings, but Thelwell is looking at positives.

He and wife Liz's third child, an expected boy, is due Dec. 28, and Thelwell is excited about that.

The retirement announcement could have come Monday, but Thelwell spoke with quarterbacks coach Dave Dickenson about it and will wait for the right time.

"Dicky gave me words of advice," Thelwell said. "He said not to make a decision the day after a loss. I will take a couple of days. I will talk with my wife. I have an idea with what direction I'm leaning. My mind wants one thing, and my body is telling me something else."


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