Bittersweet win for Als' Calvillo

Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo announces at a press conference that he needs to undergo...

Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo announces at a press conference that he needs to undergo thyroid surgery. (REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber)

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:07 AM ET

Anthony Calvillo sat on the podium in the post-game news conference and he was starting to get choked up. Calvillo was fighting back the tears.

Yet, the bittersweet moment Calvillo was experiencing was more about real life than the fact he became only the fifth quarterback in CFL history to lead his team to back-to-back Grey Cups.

Calvillo has been keeping a close personal secret between his wife and his doctors.

Shortly after he suffered a bruised sternum in Winnipeg on Aug. 19. and during the routine examination, doctors discovered Calvillo had a lesion in his thyroid.

Although he is unsure whether the lesion is cancerous, he will find out in about two weeks time when doctors in Montreal will operate and remove half his thyroid.

Calvillo's condition even caught Montreal coach Mark Trestman by surprise. Trestman would not comment since he did not have enough details shortly before Calvillo spilled his heart out on the podium.

"In the back of my mind, I was going to step away from football," said Calvillo, who did step away for the last four games of the 2007 season when his wife Alexis was battling cancer.

"They said they could wait. I can't wait any longer."

Doctors told him an operation was not crucial at the time and that even pregnant women could wait until their term was done before undergoing the operation.

"After the game, I didn't want to say a danged thing, but the emotions got the better of me," said Calvillo. "That's where I'm at right now. After the last game, the East Final, it just hit me.

"Here we are again, getting back to have another chance to win a championship. Once we did it, this thing has bottled up in me for a while. I could only share it with my wife and close ones. Now I have nothing else to look forward to on the football field. Now, I'm looking forward to having the surgery done."

In a strange way, that injury back in August may ultimately help work things out for the best.

"It's been a long year for me," said Calvillo, sniffing as he wiped away a tear. "It's something that's been pressing my heart for a while now."

Even though Calvillo turned 38 just four days after the sternum injury. the affliction he's been carrying with him for the most part of this season is not career-threatening.

"Whatever the case might be, whether they find something or not in the lesion, I'll be able to play football next year," said Calvillo. "It's something we're going to have to address what's inside my throat.'

Calvillo has noticed his voice has been cracking more than it has in the past.

"That's the biggest thing, the side effect that goes with it," said Calvillo. "The doctors said we could wait until after the season to have it removed. We saw three specialists and they all said the same thing.

"Here we are. I'm going to enjoy this victory, go to California for a week with my family, then come back and have surgery.

"All three doctors said 'you can't wait a year, it has to come out,'

"I still enjoy this game and I'm still hungry for more having just won it. The passion for the game is still there. To be honest with you, I have nothing else lined up."


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