WINNIPEG - Obby Khan plans to unveil plans to launch a new local restaurant at Wednesday afternoon's press conference when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman will confirm that he is retiring.
Khan will be the owner, operator and face of Shawarma Khan, a restaurant with Bomber themes that will offer a "Middle Eastern-inspired atmosphere with a Western twist," according to a release that will be issued at the presser. It will open this summer in downtown Winnipeg.
Shawarma is a style of Middle-Eastern cooking in which meat is cooked slowly on a vertical spit. The menu will feature many locally grown products, including free-range chicken.
"It will be a very exciting moment for me when Shawarma Khan opens its doors this summer," Khan says in the release.
Khan says he chose to retire so he would not have to split his focus between football and his new ventures (there's more to come). Khan played in the CFL for eight years, the last six for the Bombers and has settled in Winnipeg year-round.
"I am very excited to start the next chapter in my life," he says. "I feel as though I have giving everything I have to give to football and now it is time for me to move on. I didnít know much when I started to think about retirement, but I knew that I wanted to stay in Winnipeg. I love it here and have felt so welcomed and loved ever since I got here."
Khan's volunteer and public service work, earning the Cal Murphy 'Heart of the Legend' Award three times, and had become one of the team's most popular players.
Khan, 31, lost his job as a starter late in the 2011 CFL season, but regained it for the playoffs.
"No words can express how hard this is," Khan tweeted Wednesday. "Thank you Winnipeg for all your support. I love you all more than you will ever know! I will always be Blue and Gold."
Khan was one of the club's most consistent offensive linemen since the Bombers acquired him in the Ottawa dispersal draft, but was forced to battle back from some serious health problems in 2007. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Ottawa native returned to action during the 2008 CFL season and has long been one of the fan favourites.