FLEMING ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Friday, May 19, 2006 - 02:30PM
One of the stalwarts of the Winnipeg Blue Bombersâ€™ defensive line announced his retirement today. Defensive tackle Joe Fleming announced that he is retiring from professional football to spend more time with his family.
â€œItâ€™s basically for family reasons,â€? Fleming said of his decision. â€œIt was a very hard decision to make. Iâ€™ve been doing this job for nine years. I was blessed to do it for as long as I did. I loved what I did. But at the end of the day it comes down to family and that takes precedence. I would like to thank the Winnipeg Football Club for supporting me in my decision and allowing me the time I needed to make this decision.
â€œI had the opportunity to play for three great organizations in the CFL, many great coaches and have had amazing teammates. Except for my wife Stacy and my kids Madelyn, who was born in Canada, Erin, and Joe Jr., the CFL is the best thing that ever happened to me. My memories of this amazing game and the friendships I have made will last a lifetime and for this I am most thankful.â€?
Blue Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer said that while Flemingâ€™s retirement is a huge loss for the football club, the teamâ€™s management and coaching staff understand the reason for it.
â€œJoe Fleming was a class act and a tremendous asset for this organization,â€? Bauer said. â€œHe provided leadership in the dressing room and on the field. His presence will be missed by every member of the Blue Bombersâ€™ family.â€?
Blue Bombers general manager Brendan Taman echoed those sentiments.
â€œJoe Fleming is the epitome of what a professional football player should be,â€? Taman said. â€œHe worked tirelessly for this football club, both on and off the field.
â€œBut there comes a time when a player has to move on with his life and the Blue Bombers organization wishes him the best of luck in the next phase of his life.â€?
Fleming rejoined the Bombers in a blockbuster trade that brought him east from the Calgary Stampeders late in the 2004 season. He played in 22 games for the Bombers following the trade, registering 42 defensive tackles, six quarterback sacks, one fumble recovery and one pass knockdown.
It was Flemingâ€™s second stint with the Bombers. He originally signed as a free agent with the team in 1998 and played in 18 games that season, collecting 44 defensive tackles, four special teams tackles, 15 quarterback sacks for 115 yards and seven tackles for losses of 22 yards.
In 1999, he played in nine games for the Bombers, registering 15 defensive tackles, three quarterback sacks for 11 yards and one tackle for a loss of one yard.
Fleming, who broke into the CFL in 1996 with the B.C. Lions, finishes his CFL career having played 145 games. His career totals include 273 defensive tackles, 10 special teams tackles, seven pass knockdowns, five forced fumbles, 70 QB sacks and 28 tackles for losses of 65 yards.
Fleming was named a CFL All-Star on four separate occasions (1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003) and was a four-time West Division All-Star (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004). He was also the CFLâ€™s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2003 with Calgary when he collected 33 defensive tackles, 11 quarterback sacks and three tackles for losses.
FLEMING IS GONE!!!! WILL THIS EFFECT OUR TEAM???