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Anthony Calvillo, CFL’s all-time passing yardage leader, retires

Anthony Calvillo AP

The Canadian Football League’s all-time passing yardage leader has elected to retire.

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo announced Tuesday that he was stepping away from the game after 20 seasons.

Calvillo, 41, threw for a league-record 79,816 yards and 455 touchdowns in his CFL career, the bulk of which was spent in Montreal. He helped lead the Alouettes to three Grey Cup titles, including back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010, when now-Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman held the same position in Montreal.

In a video statement, Trestman praised Calvillo for his play and approach to the game.

“(You) represented and carried yourself in a fashion that taught your teammates and coaches how to live and how to lead,” Trestman said.

“Your statistics as a player will always be there, and eventually, some time, somewhere, they’ll be broken, but what you gave those that stood by you in the locker room and on the field will be forever. You taught us about accountability, hard work, consistency of demeanor and loyalty.”

In his retirement press conference, Calvillo noted he has been medically cleared after the concussion that ended his 2013 season.

Calvillo also expressed confidence in Troy Smith, who ended the 2013 season as Montreal’s starting quarterback.

“To see what Troy did in half a season . . . I truly believe we’ve got the right guys in place moving forward,” Calvillo said, according to the Alouettes.

The Alouettes recently signed Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, through 2016.

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31 Responses to “Anthony Calvillo, CFL’s all-time passing yardage leader, retires”
  1. cball77 says: Jan 21, 2014 12:29 PM

    Great player – better person.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 21, 2014 12:30 PM

    When you do the conversion from Canadian yards, it works out to around 3,500 NFL yards.

  3. bucrightoff says: Jan 21, 2014 12:31 PM

    Actually he’s the all-time passing yardage leader in all of pro football, not just the CFL. He was a great player and an even better man. He will be missed.

  4. rudegger says: Jan 21, 2014 12:41 PM

    The CFL is third tier football

  5. smokingconch says: Jan 21, 2014 12:47 PM

    Think he’ll get Canton consideration? I can’t think of another modern era non-NFL player good enough, but I’d say Calvillo has a case.

  6. NoHomeTeam says: Jan 21, 2014 12:48 PM

    thegreatgabbert says: When you do the conversion from Canadian yards, it works out to around 3,500 NFL yards.

    **********

    Well, that used to be the case, but the US yard is not nearly as strong as it once was against the Canadian yard.

  7. redmanalishi says: Jan 21, 2014 12:52 PM

    I knew a guy in school that wanted the ‘best’ accounting job (this is about football, I promise). He didn’t get recruited by the big high paying firms. Great guy, just not the absolutely the smartest or most talented. But he wanted the ‘best’ job, so he waited. His friends and peers went to the small companies, got their education, passed their professional exams, got promotions, got successful and wealthy. He kept holding out for they big corporate position until everyone saw him unmotivated and stubborn. Life passed him by.

    Lesson: There’s nothing wrong with being being a big fish in a small pond. I’m a Canadian and never heard of this guy, but congrats to him. Now Tim Tebow, swallow your pride, go to Canada, and try your hardest to even fill this guy’s shadow.

  8. bassplucker says: Jan 21, 2014 12:52 PM

    Diss the CFL all you want but playing QB for 20 years in ANY league commands respect.

  9. idpfantasyfootball says: Jan 21, 2014 1:09 PM

    Congrats to Calvillo!

    Troy Smith should be a starter in the NFL. With the quality of QBs in the league, it is insane that he has been exiled to the north.

  10. mcmeen0576 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:10 PM

    Trestman and Calvillo seem really close. I would assume Anthony ends up with the Bears in some capacity. As a quality control guy or maybe a scout.

  11. rextraordinaire says: Jan 21, 2014 1:14 PM

    Just a reminder, its the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not NFL hall of fame. 80,000 yards is 80,000 yards. I’d say he earned his bust.

  12. shuttaman1990 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:16 PM

    LOL! Ok he played for 20 years, but he is no better than Peyton the Gawd Manning. or any great NFL qb of the past

    lol @ people tryna put CFL at the same level as the NFL because its pro football.
    Well it’s not NFL is at an higher way higher level than the CFL.

    Congrats, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here, and I’m canadian and I know that the NFL>CFL in all aspects.

  13. shuttaman1990 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:17 PM

    But I’m sure he’s a way better player than that overated cheating tuck rule spygate taking advantage chump Tom Brady by MILES!

    Tuck Rule and Spygate, Tuck Rule and Spygate, Brady’s heart only pumps LEMONADE!

  14. jpb12 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:29 PM

    Quality guy. He surpassed Damon Allen’s records. (Marcus Allen’s little brother)

    Lots of guys went to CFL and couldn’t make it. Vince Ferragamo and Ricky Williams come to mind.

    On the other hand Joe Theisman and Warren Moon did pretty well learning their craft in the CFL before coming to the big time.

  15. larryboodry says: Jan 21, 2014 1:33 PM

    Great career in ANY league.

  16. willcool21 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:35 PM

    I’ve watched him forever here in Canada and I’m not nearly the CFL fan as I am of the NFL, but god knows for sure he’d do better in a game than Tyler Palko or Jimmy Claussen.. Atleast he’ d be on the same page and take what the defense would give him…. hashtag> Cameron Wake, Joe Theisman, Brandon Browner, Doug Flutie, Warren moon, Quardry Ismail etc .. List goes on.. hashtag hashtag hashtag!

  17. micknangold says: Jan 21, 2014 1:55 PM

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame excludes CFL players because they have their own Hall of Fame, not because it isn’t considered professional football.

  18. luz56 says: Jan 21, 2014 1:56 PM

    The stupidity of some of the posters here is not surprising…. Rather than educate yourself on the intricacies of the Canadian football league game just make asinine comments…. Having played football in Canada I soon realized how tough it really is… Congratulations AC

  19. wallyspo says: Jan 21, 2014 2:02 PM

    Chicago Bears have a new QB’s coach… Or should I say, Trestman just got himself a new Assistant QB’s coach.

  20. lerch77 says: Jan 21, 2014 2:02 PM

    Don’t retire yet! Please come play for my Vikings, please, please, please!!!

  21. 2ruefan says: Jan 21, 2014 2:04 PM

    “Lots of guys went to CFL and couldn’t make it. Vince Ferragamo and Ricky Williams come to mind. ”

    LOL – Both of whom were washed up when they went. With the addition of Williams being a pot-head.
    Silly comparison.

    Better reference would be what FLUTIE did when he went there.

  22. pencepost says: Jan 21, 2014 2:05 PM

    Tebow time!

  23. stigman2012 says: Jan 21, 2014 2:24 PM

    Not dissing his stats, or Canadian football, but…

    for those that are clamoring for this guy to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, it is a Hall of FAME, and I am guessing that 90 percent or better of the diehard posters on this site have never heard of him.

    Ergo…no Hall of FAME.

  24. 2ruefan says: Jan 21, 2014 2:49 PM

    Whether or not fans have “heard” of a player is not the criterion for induction into any Hall of fame…

  25. dubblelznhell says: Jan 21, 2014 3:10 PM

    So if the CFL is a 3rd tier league, what league, pray tell, is considered 2nd in your oblivious opinion? Football is football. Grown men playing a game. I’d like to see some of you throw a CFL ball and how quickly you whine for your little balls back.

  26. shadowcell says: Jan 21, 2014 3:21 PM

    If any CFL player could merit induction into Canton, Calvillo would probably be it. Dude spent twenty years playing professional football at a consistently high level, and like Trestman said, he owes his job to Calvillo’s performance.

    At any rate, he’s inarguably the best QB in the CFL. Plus he managed to overcome both his wife’s cancer diagnosis, which left him devastated and on the brink of retirement, and his own cancer issues–and he still won the Grey Cup. I’m bummed that I missed out on him in his prime, but at 41 and coming off a concussion that ended his season, I suppose now’s as good as any other time to hang it up.

  27. harveyredman says: Jan 21, 2014 3:37 PM

    If the NFL wants to avoid more serious head injuries and concussions – CFL rules is the way to go.

    NFL on a smaller field is “smash-mouth” football. You know where a guy is going and the collisions are epic. This also includes more head injuries

    CFL on a much larger field is a “flowing” game, not as many players get “blown-up” because the field is so wide you have to break-down to tackle. Players have to be a little smaller to cover more ground and will miss the tackle if they try to blow guys up. the field is huge, so guys have lots of room to maneuver. Not out of the ordinary to have 220lb DL, 200lb LB’s

    That being said, I like the NFL brand better, IMHO

  28. genericcommenter says: Jan 21, 2014 5:09 PM

    I hope Troy Smith is rewarded for his humility (and hard work) and will be able to put together a decent run as a pro QB.

    There were 3 relatively young Heisman QBs who went into last season unemployed and completely unwanted by the NFL, even as 3rd stringers. All 3 have deficiencies (whether short stature, bad mechanics, playbook ability, etc), and (rightly or wrongly) all 3 had rubbed previous teams the wrong way and were seen as having egos that far exceeded their abilities.

    2 of these guys were approached by and turned down the CFL, despite generating no solid NFL interest, and in desperate need of showing something on the field that would make a team want to give them another shot.

    The 3rd guy was working in his school’s athletic dept, 3 years removed from a regular season NFL roster, after spending time in the UFL. He had decided to pursue an MBA and was at peace with being done with pro football. He had a couple workouts and impressed some people throwing to receivers at the school’s pro day, but no one was calling- not even the Browns. He finished up his semester, went to Canada, worked his way into playing time, did OK, and said all the right things.

    Now he has a chance to be a starting Pro QB for a few more years. Say what you want about the CFL, but it’s pro sports and there are only so many roster spots. Plus, it’s still a heck of a way to make a living for a guy in his late 20s/early 30s.

    That;s probably more than those other 2 guys can say. The one dude will be alright, having some demand as a media personality, but no one wants him under center. I think the other guy is broke and no one wants him for anything.

  29. schleusryn says: Jan 21, 2014 9:12 PM

    He should of been given a shot in the NFL when he was on the rise in the early 2000′s, 2003 about. I mean all you hear about in America is that the CFL is more of a passing game than the NFL. They also don’t play on the same size field…

  30. schleusryn says: Jan 21, 2014 9:16 PM

    He should have been given a shot in the NFL in ’05-’06 when he solidified himself as a great quarterback in the CFL. The fields are also not the same size…

    This dude and Tom Brady put up big numbers with no-name receivers (and honestly who the heck is Calvillo I’ve never seen a CFL game).

  31. jameslongstaffe says: Jan 22, 2014 12:47 AM

    I watched his very first game in the CFL many years ago as a young QB… & many more after. Success didn’t come immediately & he was on the ropes, but he hung in there & made it work to the point that he is now a legend in Canada for those that love football. Because if you truly love football in Canada, you love the CFL & Anthony Calvillo. He was that good as a player & person… I don’t care about the rest of the naysayers.

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