Prinsen's career ends

A neck injury suffered in an off-season accident has abruptly ended Eskimo Tim Prinsen's career....

A neck injury suffered in an off-season accident has abruptly ended Eskimo Tim Prinsen's career. (Edmonton Sun/Perry Mah)

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Tim Prinsen feels cheated.

After recovering from a knee infection which sidelined him for the final four regular season games and last November's Western semi-final, the veteran centre was looking forward to another four seasons in an Edmonton Eskimos uniform.

However, a severe case of whiplash suffered in a traffic accident has left the six-foot-four, 300-pound Prinsen with limited strength in his left arm and ended his eight-year CFL career.

DECLINED TO DISCUSS

"As an athlete you always like to go out on your own terms," said the Edmonton-born Prinsen, who declined to discuss the specifics of the accident other than to say he was a passenger in a truck that was rear-ended on a city street in early January.

"For me, it wasn't meant to be that way.

"I've had a great career. I've been to four Grey Cups and won two. I got to play against some great football players and I've done well against some great football players.

"The biggest thing for me was having the opportunity to play here in Edmonton. I got to play here for five years and it was a tremendous honour to put on that Eskimo uniform."

Armed with the knowledge Prinsen won't recover sufficiently from his neck and shoulder injuries to return to the gridiron, the Esks had no choice but to release the 34-year-old offensive lineman yesterday.

"From a football perspective, we did everything we can possibly do as far as MRIs and having him visit some specialists," rookie head coach Danny Maciocia said.

"We wanted him to line up and play for us. But after sitting down and talking to the doctors and listening to Tim, it really became a no-brainer."

INABILITY TO PERFORM

But Prinsen's inability to perform on the field wasn't the only consideration that figured in the Green and Gold's decision to let him go.

"You have to look beyond the football player," Maciocia said. "Here's a human being that's married with children and you want him to enjoy life."

Prinsen's departure leaves Kevin Lefsrud as the man-in-the-middle for training camp, which opens May 29.

Lefsrud moved to centre from right guard after Prinsen's wonky left knee suddenly ballooned as the result of an infection late last September.

"Losing Tim hurts," Lefsrud said. "He's a helluva guy. And he's a helluva locker room guy and it hurts us there too. I'm going to miss him."

University of Saskatchewan product Rhett McLane is perched behind Lefsrud on the depth chart.


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