Chris Getzlaf - Receiver - 2008-15 - Sam Houston
A salute to Getzlaf and his helping hands -
Rob Vanstone -
Leader-Post - 05-01-2018
Chris Getzlaf announces retirement from
It is better to give than to receive, or so the saying goes, but Chris
Getzlaf was able to do both.
In addition to being an accomplished CFL receiver, the Regina-born
Getzlaf was able to give back to the community in myriad ways.
This thoroughly admirable individual was celebrated Thursday in Mosaic
Stadium’s media room, where he announced his retirement from
professional football after an 11-year career that was most memorable
for his time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Suitably, many of the seats that are ordinarily engulfed by reporters
were reserved for members of Getzlaf’s family. The standing-room-only
crowd included an assortment of teammates.
The enduring bond with fellow members of the Green and White is such
that Getzlaf had to gather his composure only once during Thursday’s
media conference. He mentioned his teammates, paused, and had to collect
his thoughts for a few seconds.
That aside, most of the session was appropriately upbeat. It was a time
to reflect upon a remarkable, and perhaps improbable, home-grown success
“Every single football team that I’ve ever played for, I was a backup
before I was ever a starter,” said Getzlaf, who turns 35 on Tuesday. “I
don’t think there’s a lot of professional players who can say that.
“It just goes to show the kind of work and time that needs to be put in
in order to play at the professional level.”
Getzlaf put in that time and work at all levels, from Regina Minor
Football to the Usher Unicorns to the Regina Thunder to the University
of Regina Rams to the CFL.
When he did turn pro, back in 2007, it was as a fifth-round draft pick
of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The stop in Hamilton proved to be a blip. The Tiger-Cats traded him to
Saskatchewan on Aug. 19, 2007 in a larcenous exchange that also brought
all-purpose player Corey Holmes to Regina. The Roughriders surrendered
receiver-returner Jason Armstead.
At the time, Holmes and Armstead were the marquee players in the
transaction. But Eric Tillman, the Roughriders’ general manager of the
day, presciently pointed out that Getzlaf could very well become the key
to the deal.
Over 119 regular-season games with the Roughriders, Getzlaf caught 368
passes for 5,694 yards — totals that place him fifth in franchise
history. He is sixth all-time in touchdown catches, with 37.
Twice a 1,000-yard receiver and a West Division all-star, Getzlaf played
for Saskatchewan in the Grey Cup games of 2009, 2010 and 2013. After the
latter contest, in which the Roughriders defeated the Tiger-Cats 45-23
at Taylor Field, he was named the Grey Cup’s most outstanding Canadian.
“Not only that, but there was the way that we got there,” Getzlaf noted.
“We went through a four-game losing skid that season, where a lot of
people tried to write us off, and we walked into Calgary (for the West
Division final) and were able to handle them very easily — not easily,
but we pounded them — and we got the opportunity to come back home and
play in front of our home crowd.
“It was the highlight of my career. If I could pick out one thing, that
would obviously be it.”
Getzlaf also produced highlights off the field.
A tireless ambassador for the team, he assisted innumerable good causes
— travelling across the province, and even to Mexico. Just a few days
ago, he even dressed as Santa Claus to assist the Lucky Paws Dog Rescue.
“I’m just super-thankful that football has given me a platform to be
able to do those things — to team up with the Red Cross and to help put
a stop to bullying and to be able to travel throughout the province and
give those kinds of speeches,” he said.
“All of a sudden, players from across the league are reaching out to you
to go down to Mexico and help work at a spay-and-neuter clinic. Football
has given that all to me. It has given me a platform to go out in the
community to talk and try to give back.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give back as much as this game has