Stampeders notes: Greenwood will take his time making retirement decision
Cory Greenwood is in no rush.
The Calgary Stampeders linebacker is 34 years-old and coming off a scary injury that kept him out of the lineup for six weeks before he returned for Sunday’s loss in the CFL’s West Division Semifinal.
If his time playing football is over, Greenwood seems at peace with it.
He just hasn’t made that decision yet.
“I’m going to take December, Christmas, maybe January to talk about it with my folks and see how my body feels and then re-assess things,” Greenwood said.
The linebacker suffered a series of stingers starting in the Labour Day Classic. Two weeks later against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he got another stinger during which there was slight paralysis and he couldn’t move his arm.
While he made it back into the lineup in time for the playoffs, Greenwood is also a player who missed a full season in 2017 because of a torn ACL in his knee while he was with the Edmonton Eskimos.
There comes a point where taking that sort of damage just isn’t worth it, and Greenwood acknowledged that retirement is a possibility.
That doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed, though.
He got through Sunday’s game without any more stingers, after all.
“Honestly, you never know how it’s going to react because we don’t hit people in practice, so I was like ‘I could get one and be done,’ but I put on a neck-roll and I didn’t change my game or anything,” Greenwood said. “I didn’t get another one, so maybe I could keep the neck-roll and play next year.”
Having Greenwood, who is from Kingston, Ont., in the lineup this year allowed the Stampeders to continue playing a Canadian at middle-linebacker the way they did in previous years before Alex Singleton left for the NFL.
While he was out, the Stamps went with Wynton McManis at middle linebacker and Nate Holley — the West Division’s Most Outstanding Rookie nominee — in the weak-side position.
Both of those guys are going to be cheaper than Greenwood would be next year, and he acknowledge that the team might not necessarily need him back next year if they choose to move forward with two Americans as their starting linebackers.
Holley, though, looks likely to take advantage of the CFL’s new window for players to explore NFL options. With Dexter McCoil getting released by the Stamps soon to do the same, it’s entirely possible that the Stamps might need Greenwood.
They certainly aren’t ruling it out.
“Interested in Cory, yes,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “He’s been a great addition to the Stampeders organization. I love him as a guy. Hard worker, very committed to winning, just wants to be part of the group.
“Very physical, tough guy. He’s 35-ish now. He’s having some shoulder issues that are concerning, but some things you can resolve in the off-season. Definitely a guy I want to be in touch with for the long-term, as well. I think Cory is a good person and a valuable asset to our club, and I’d always be interested, if he’s playing football, to (have him) wearing the Red & White.”
Jamar Wall wants to be back with the Stampeders.
It’s inconceivable that they won’t want him back next season, too.
With Brandon Smith retiring, Wall will be by far the oldest guy in the defensive backfield. At 31-years-old, though, he’s still got lots of football left and feels like there’s things he can pass on to this next generation of Stampeders DBs.
“I’m definitely the oldest by seven years or six years,” Wall said. “It’ll definitely be good to be back. We have a young group, but I’ve learned a lot from Smitty. We have a young group, but it’d be nice to be back. We have a lot of good, young guys, but they still don’t know the Calgary way to the fullest.”
If anyone is wondering why Smith isn’t looking seriously at a post-playing career move to coaching, by the way, there are a couple reasons.
For one, he’s already been working as an accountant for a while, but he also just isn’t quite sure he’s got the temperament for coaching.
“Coaching, you have to have that ability to translate to players,” Smith said. “Doing it on the field is much different from doing it in the coach’s position in the booth, to relay those messages. Sometimes you have to be a disciplinarian, and that’s not really my forte.
“You have to tell someone, ‘You’ve gotta do this, this and this,’ and I’d just rather say ‘You know, you’d be more successful if you do it this way,’ and as a coach, you’ve got to make sure you hammer that home because your job relies on it.”
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