Lums-done with football

Running back Jesse Lumsden chats with media after a Stampeders practice at McMahon Stadium in...

Running back Jesse Lumsden chats with media after a Stampeders practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alta., Oct. 21, 2010. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:12 AM ET

Calgary Stampeders running back Jesse Lumsden is expected to provide the answer Tuesday morning -- yeah, he's finished with football.

For gridiron fans, though, one question will always remain.

What if?

Undoubtedly one of the most talented running backs that this country has ever produced, the broad-shouldered ball-carrier is expected to announce his retirement from football at a morning media conference at Canada Olympic Park, hanging up his cleats after six injury-riddled CFL campaigns and turning his full attention to bobsled.

The news comes just five days after Lumsden, standing just outside the clubhouse at Springbank Links at Henry Burris' annual charity golf tournament last week, insisted he wasn't ready for life after football.

"I love football. I really do," Lumsden told QMI Agency last Friday. "I'm really, really fortunate to have two sports in my life that I care about a lot and work really hard at. But football? Shoot, it gives me goosebumps still thinking about getting on the field."

Injuries, unfortunately, have always seemed to keep him off it.

During his four-year stint with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he was sidelined with shoulder, knee and ankle issues. He signed a big-ticket free-agent deal with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2009, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in his first outing for the Green & Gold.

His latest setback -- and perhaps his last one -- came in November, when he ripped ligaments in his left knee in just his third appearance with the Stamps. He went under the knife for reconstructive surgery in late December and is still on the slow road to recovery.

Of course, some fans will wonder if Tuesday's announcement is more of an extended absence than a retirement. Then again, question marks seem to follow this guy around.

First, it was whether the former Hec Crighton Trophy winner would ever touch the turf at Ivor Wynne Stadium, Commonwealth Stadium, McMahon Stadium or any other professional football facility on this side of the border. The Tiger-Cats, who rolled the dice on Lumsden with the sixth-overall pick in the 2005 CFL Draft, waited while he tried to earn a spot with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

Then, it was whether a Canadian could carry the load at a position usually reserved for an import. When he was healthy, nobody ever questioned Lumsden's ability to churn up yardage.

The most recent question, the one that some were asking even before he'd limped to the locker-room after the Stamps' regular-season finale in Winnipeg, was whether he was through with football.

On Tuesday, he's expected to tell the world he is. His career resume will show 1,842 rushing yards on 291 attempts, plus 650 more yards through the air. He also made a dozen trips to the endzone, including one in Calgary.

This doesn't, however, mean we've heard the last of Lumsden.

It's fitting Tuesday's announcement will be made at the start of the bobsled track at Canada Olympic Park.

Lumsden was a brakeman for Edmonton's Pierre Lueders at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, sliding to a sixth-place performance in both the two- and four-man events. Even with a wonky knee, he was learning to drive a sled during the winter months. It's no secret he hopes to pilot one of Canada's sleds at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

For now, his priority is a gold medal, not a Grey Cup.

Question is, can he resist the urge to come back and try for both?

Stamps add pair

The Stampeders continued to stock up on defensive linemen, announcing Monday they've invited Lindsey Witten and Torrey Davis to training camp.

The 23-year-old Witten starred at the University of Connecticut and signed with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 before joining the United Football League's Hartford Colonials.

Davis, 22, tried out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year and then joined the Arena League's Spokane Shockers.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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