VANCOUVER — Buck Pierce prepared for his
retirement from the CFL by getting into the restaurant business
while he was still playing.
But the quarterback hopes to stay involved in football after
officially calling it quits Tuesday.
“I’d love to look at those opportunities as they arise,” Pierce
said in an interview from his Winnipeg eatery. “(Football) is my
passion. I’ve always been a student of the game and looked up to
“Obviously, (the passion doesn’t end) just because you stop
playing. That competitive fire will never burn out.”
Pierce split last season between the Lions and the Winnipeg Blue
Bombers, throwing for 1,176 yards, five touchdowns and seven
interceptions. Over nine seasons with Winnipeg and B.C., he
completed 1,200 passes for 15,289 yards, 76 TDs and 63
“I feel pretty good about (retiring) actually,” he said. “I feel
that, over the last nine years, it’s been a great career for me.
I enjoyed every minute of it. The teammates, the organizations
were the part that were great experiences for me. It’s a hard
day also, in a way, for me because it’s what I’ve known. It’s
what I’ve been about for the most part of my life.
“So it’s a big day in both ways. But I’m also excited about the
next phase of my life and moving on.”
Pierce, a 32-year-old Hutchinson, Kan., native who played
collegiately at New Mexico State, originally signed with the
Lions in 2005. He was a key member of the club as both a backup
and starter through five seasons before playing 3 1/2 seasons
with the Blue Bombers.
He returned to B.C. last September in a trade that brought wide
receiver Akeem Foster to Winnipeg.
“Buck was a fearless competitor who never hesitated to put his
body on the line for our organization,” Lions general manager
Wally Buono said in a news release.
Pierce’s career was marred by multiple injuries as he chose to
take a hit instead of sliding or running out of bounds before
getting tackled. But he said the rewards were worth the
“I wouldn’t change anything I played the game the way that I
felt this game should be played, and I felt that I represented
myself extremely well on and off the field,” he said. “There’s
always going to be critics, and people are going to say what
they’re going to say, but at the end of the day, I represented
myself and my family and this league in a positive way.”
He won a Grey Cup with the Lions in 2006 and led the Bombers to
the 2011 championship game, where they lost 34-23 to B.C.
“Obviously, winning the Grey Cup in ’06 was a big point in my
life,” he said. “There’s lots of memories. You don’t necessarily
remember all of the big wins and stuff like that. But when you
play almost a decade, you have lots of teammates and you see
lots of teammates be traded and all these things, so you have
lots of memories that stick with you.
“Obviously, when I helped the Bombers get to a Grey Cup in
Vancouver, that was a big part, and I felt very good about what
we accomplished that year.”
His final CFL campaign, when he was relegated to third-string
status with the Blue Bombers before being dealt, was “extremely
“But it’s all about what he you take away from situations and
what you learn,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to get traded
to B.C., where it all started, and I had some great games at the
end of the year. I’m privileged and excited to be retiring as a
Pierce had “extremely minor” arthroscopic surgery on his
shoulder following the season and would have needed to get
another contract from the Lions. But neither his health nor
contract issues affected the decision to retire.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen (after) last year,” he
said. “I wanted it to be my decision. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t
about injuries. It wasn’t about anything else. It was about
where I was at my point in my career and moving forward and
taking that next step — and about taking advantage of some of
the opportunities that I have out there.”
Noting he had reached a state of contentment, Pierce expressed
gratitude to fans, teammates and his two clubs alike.
“The CFL and Canada have been great to me,” he said. “I’ve been
fortunate to have amazing teammates, great mentors all
throughout my career, and have played in great cities in the
league — and became a part of the culture here in Canada.”
He and his wife Lori, who is from Winnipeg, live in the Manitoba
capital and plan to reside there until the future opportunities
take them somewhere else.
“Winnipeg’s the place that I call home right now,” said Pierce.