A wave of misfortune

With some large bills to pay after a hurricane ripped through his Mississippi hometown last year,...

With some large bills to pay after a hurricane ripped through his Mississippi hometown last year, Shannon Garrett has decided to play another CFL season. (Edmonton Sun File/Jason Franson)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

It could have been the perfect ending to Shannon Garrett's football career.

The 31-year-old defensive back could have walked off the turf at B.C. Place last November and retired with a Grey Cup championship.

However, with some extremely large bills in his face after hurricane Katrina ripped through his Mississippi hometown last year, Garrett has decided to play another CFL season.

But he might not be returning to the Edmonton Eskimos.

"It's 50-50 (whether I come back)," said Garrett, who has spent the last six seasons with the club.

"I do want to come back to Edmonton and hopefully I will be back."

The Eskimos have offered Garrett another deal, but he isn't signing on the dotted line because some "small stipulations" still need to be worked out.

Without an agent, Garrett has a history of being at the bargaining table with the Green and Gold.

He has an even longer history with GM Paul Jones.

"I brought Shannon into the league (in 1995) when I was in Winnipeg and I brought him with me when I went to Edmonton," said Jones.

The Esks have until midnight on Feb. 15 to reach a deal before Garrett becomes a free agent.

PHONE BOUND TO RING

And after only allowing one TD pass during the entire 2005 regular season, his phone is bound to ring with offers if he reaches the open market.

Regardless of where he signs, another year of CFL employment will help offset the most expensive off-season of his career.

Garrett is now on the hook for a $70,000 US mortgage bill for his rental property that was destroyed when Katrina blasted the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

He was hoping for help from his insurance company, but was denied because he didn't have specific flood insurance.

"You would never think a 30-foot tidal wave would destroy your house," said Garrett, who knew his rental property was 20 feet above sea level in Bay St. Louis.

RENO BILLS

He also has to pay renovation bills from his own residence.

"I had six to eight inches of water in my house, so I am going up about two feet and ripping the walls out," he explained.

Garrett has to replace all of his appliances.

"My house was closed after the hurricane for maybe three weeks so a lot of moisture (built up) and rusted everything," he continued.

The carpets also have to be replaced - and he might even lose his bed.

"It took six inches of water around the base, so mould is constantly coming back on my bed poles," said Garrett. "I put bleach and water on it, but for some reason it comes back."

It could have been much worse if his house wasn't on the highest point of his street. At least he's not living in a government-issued mobile home, like thousands of other coastal residents.

And at least he has a job at a local bank to provide some help with his own cash flow.

But Mother Nature did ruin any potential retirement party.

"It would have been the perfect time to retire. I really would have thought about it hard," said Garrett.

"But right now is not the time to retire and cut some of your income. I really just want to play one more year and retire an Eskimo."


Videos

Photos