Injuries force Rottier to retire
Eskimos offensive lineman makes ‘tough decision’ to hang up his cleats
After a lifetime in football pads, it was tough for Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman Simeon Rottier to walk away.
Injuries, however, have forced the University of Alberta Gold Bears alumnus to retire just days before the start of Eskimos training camp.
“It was a really tough decision, especially because it’s that time of year. Football is starting in a week, so I was really torn on that,” Rottier said.
“At the end of the day, I just wasn’t ready. But I’m hoping, I’ll keep training and I’ll keep working, so there might be still a chance later, but at this point this was the right decision to make.”
A product of Westlock, Alta., Rottier, 34, played the past six seasons with the Eskimos at guard and centre. He was selected first overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 2009 CFL Draft. Rottier was the first Golden Bear to be selected No .1 in the draft and went on to play 124 games in the CFL — 70 with the Eskimos.
“I had a great time with the Eskimos,” Rottier said. “There were a lot of ups and downs along the way, but that’s just football. When I first came to Edmonton, I was really excited, but the first couple of years weren’t how I wanted it to be. I had a significant injury in my first year and then the next year we won four games, so it was tough slugging at first.
“But I feel like those were the kind of things that build our character and got us to be the kind of team that I was a part of after that. I think everyone that kind of went through the tough years, it made winning the Grey Cup with the group that was there and the winning seasons that much more special because you know what it can be like and how tough it can be.”
Rottier played three seasons with the Tiger-Cats before signing with the Eskimos in 2012. In 2014, Rottier was named a West Division and CFL all-star. He was also named the Eskimos’ most outstanding offensive lineman that season. In 2015, he won the Grey Cup with the Eskimos.
“I’m really thankful for the training staff, the docs, the equipment staff and all my teammates and coaches along the way,” Rottier said. “I can’t thank them enough. I had tons of support of family and friends, too. And the fans, people have been reaching out and I guess I’m pretty thankful and feel pretty blessed.”
Rottier had signed a contract extension with the Eskimos in March and was working hard preparing for the upcoming season. Yet his injuries were not responding to
I just wasn’t ready. But I’m hoping, I’ll keep training and I’ll keep working, so there might be still a chance later ...
rehab as well as hoped.
“To be honest, I was pretty close, I just feel like the whole process was taking longer than I was hoping,” Rottier said. “It was kind of a gruelling off-season in that sense. So by the time camp came around, I just needed a little bit more time. That was the decision I made at this point keeping my long-term health in mind, too.
“I was rehabbing injuries from last year. After nine years, they just kind of add up. There was at one point an option to undergo surgery and I guess my thought process after talking to doctors (was) that the best thing in the long run was to rehab and try to not just do a quick fix, especially if I was going to keep playing, but to get it to a place where I could play without having to do surgery.”
Rottier is leaving the door open for a return if the Eskimos find themselves in need of a Canadian offensive lineman down the road this season.
“I need to find a way to make a little bit of money on the side, but my main focus is really still training for the next six months and until this season is done, I’m not going to completely rule it out,” he said. “It is kind of a weird thing where all of a sudden all the opportunities after football are coming more to light. I’m faced with that and I just have to pump the brakes a little bit until I’m really ready to commit to something full time.”
Notes: The Eskimos announced Wednesday they have signed their entire draft class from the 2018 CFL Draft, DB Godfrey Onyeka, DB Jordan Beaulieu, RB Tanner Green, OL Curtis Krahn, RB Alex Taylor, WR Harry McMaster, DL Gabriel Bagnell and RB Blair Zerr.
Offensive lineman Simeon Rottier, the first Alberta Golden Bears player to be selected No. 1 in a CFL draft, has retired from football days before the start of Edmonton Eskimos training camp after injuries from his 124-game career took their toll.