John Chick - Defensive End - 2007-09, 2013-15 -
John Chick wrapped up quarterbacks and his
CFL career in comparable fashion - Rob
Vanstone - Regina Leader-Post - 02-04-2018
There was not a lot of fanfare, nor was there
over-the-top self-congratulation, when Chick felled an opposing passer
or decided to walk away from the game.
In this era of sack dances, Chick generally opted to pump a fist.
It is left to others to pump his tires.
Instead of holding a press conference and revelling in well-deserved
tributes to a wonderful career, the 35-year-old Chick opted to announce
his retirement via a low-key media release.
The communiqué was issued on Good Friday by the Edmonton Eskimos, to
whom Chick was traded by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last August.
Chick had joined the Tiger-Cats early in 2016, shortly after he and
slotback Weston Dressler were unceremoniously dumped by Chris Jones in
the early days of his regime as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head
coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations.
In both cases, the Roughriders saw fit to sever ties with a player who
was noted more for his actions than his words — an American-born star
who had made Regina his year-round home.
Chick was so devastated by the salary-related sacking that, for one of
the very few times in his career, he was outspoken. He told the Regina
Leader-Post’s Murray McCormick in August of 2016 that the release
“wasn’t cordially done.”
“There are definitely cordial ways to do things,” Chick said. “Whether
I’m 33 or 40, one of these days, someone’s going to say, ‘Hey, you’ve
had enough.’ I might not agree with him or whatever, but there’s a right
way and a wrong way to handle things.
“It’s not just the one case. There were a lot of things.”
As it turned out, nobody tapped Chick on the shoulder and said he was
done. The decision was entirely his, and now it is on to the next
He played the game, and at such a high level, in the same manner.
After registering a sack, it was on to the next play.
Every play, regardless of whether it was in a pre-season game or the
Grey Cup, was a matter of pride for Chick.
A relentless motor was among his many on-field attributes. Anyone who
lined up opposite him was destined to experience a long, exhausting day.
And the bigger the game, the better Chick played.
Chick registered two sacks in each of the Roughriders’ last two Grey Cup
victories, those of 2007 and 2013.
His showing in 2007 was a breakout performance. By 2013, he was an
established star, someone who returned from the NFL that year and
ultimately shared in a celebration of a home-field championship-game
In 2013, Chick could have signed elsewhere for more money, but he opted
to return to Saskatchewan and once again immerse himself in the
A type 1 diabetic, Chick is a glowing example to everyone to everyone
who has been affected by the condition. He played every game while
wearing an insulin pump, and excelled at the highest level.
While doing so, he never forgot about the home team — his wife,
Catherine, and eight children.
And nobody who follows the Green and White, even with a casual level of
interest, will ever forget Chick.
In addition to contributing so integrally to half of the Roughriders’
Grey Cup victories, he was named the CFL’s most outstanding defensive
player in 2009.
Few players in Roughriders history have been as decorated. As a person,
he also belongs in the highest echelon.
What more could anyone want from a player?
He loved Regina so much that he lived here. He made the Roughriders a
better team, and the city a better place.
Not once did he ever big-league someone or play the big shot. There was
never the slightest hint of entitlement, despite his accomplishments in
the CFL and NFL.
In other words, Chick was the perfect fit for a community that embraces
Canadian professional football and its humblest of heroes.
No, he did not retire as a Roughrider, but it was with Saskatchewan that
he enjoyed his greatest successes as a CFLer.
To be continued in 2021, when Chick becomes eligible for what will be
automatic enshrinement in the Roughriders’ Plaza of Honour.