Montreal Alouettes

Shea Emry - Linebacker - 2008-2013 - UBC

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Grey Cup-winning middle linebacker Shea Emry retires from football after eight CFL seasons  - Regina Leader-Post - Murray McCormick - 03-02-2016

Shea Emry regrets that his CFL career was ended by another concussion.

But the former Saskatchewan Roughriders middle linebacker doesn’t have any regrets on how his eight-year CFL career worked out. On Wednesday, the 29-year-old Emry announced that he’s retiring from the CFL.

“I’m very content and happy with how my career went,’’ Emry said from his Vancouver home.

“The way it finished off wasn’t the best way, but how many people get to win a Grey Cup like Ben Cahoon in Montreal and step away from the game and still be healthy? Not many.’’

Emry’s CFL career included stints with the Roughriders, Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts. He shared in the 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup championships with the Alouettes before signing with the Argonauts as a free agent in 2014. He spent the 2014 season with Toronto before being traded to the Riders on Jan. 22, 2015, for defensive end Ricky Foley.

Emry’s on-field time with the Riders lasted less than a half. He suffered a season-ending concussion in the Riders’ 30-26 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first game of the 2015 regular season.

“I remember that I hit someone,’’ Emry said. “When I came to, I felt confused and I didn’t want to feel confused anymore. I told the doctors that I wasn’t feeling right and that I needed to step aside.’’

Emry is still suffering some of the effects of his last concussion, adding it was likely one of many head injuries that he suffered.

“I don’t feel it was that one hit that made it happen,’’ said Emry, who was a 2012 CFL all-star with the Alouettes. “It was more of a culmination of 120-plus starts that did the damage.’’

Emry, who was selected seventh overall by the Alouettes in the 2008 CFL draft out of UBC, joins a growing list of players who have retired early due to concussions. He understood the risks that come with playing a physical position like middle linebacker.

“It goes without saying that (concussions) are part of the job description these days,’’ Emry said. “It’s a shame that I have to say that, but as a linebacker you can’t really go around not hitting people. I’m retiring at 29, but I played eight years because I started quite young.’’

It was a battle with depression that contributed to Emry’s life after football. He went public with his depression in 2012 after missing half of the 2011 season with another concussion.

Emry has become an advocate for men’s mental health and going public with depression. He also launched the Wellman Project, a program that is targeted at empowering men to take control of their mental wellness.

Despite the cloud of the concussions, Emry views Wednesday’s retirement announcement as a celebration.

“There are a lot of guys that may not feel that way, but I have so much positivity and opportunity off the field that I’m just enthused about what the future holds,’’ Emry said. “I’m very happy and proud of how my football career played out.’’
 

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Yr Team Tkl Sack Fumb Int
2008 Mtl 4 0 2 0
2009 Mtl 52 2 0 0
2010 Mtl 58 1 4 1
2011 Mtl 16 0 0 0
2012 Mtl 87 7 1 1
2013 Mtl 44 3 1 2
2014 Tor 72 1 1 0
2015 Ssk 4 0 0 0
Total 9 337 14 9 4