Anthony Calvillo, Canada's greatest quarterback, retires
By Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:58AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:51PM EST
MONTREAL -- The Anthony Calvillo era is over.
Pro football's all-time passing leader announced Tuesday he is retiring after a 20-year CFL career that saw him set several records and win three Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes.
"Today I would like to announce my retirement from this great game of football," Calvillo said, fighting back tears. "It has been an amazing journey of 20 years, starting in Las Vegas, to my humbling times in Hamilton to the past 16 years here in Montreal."
The 41-year-old's retirement was not a surprise. He did not play after suffering the second major concussion of his career on what looked like a routine hit by Saskatchewan's Ricky Foley in a 24-21 loss on Aug. 17 in Regina.
The Los Angeles native set records for passing yards with 79,816, completions with 5,892, pass attempts with 9,437 and touchdown passes with 455.
Calvillo, who also spoke French during his news conference, also holds records for completions in one game with 44 and in Grey Cup game passing yards with 2,470.
Calvillo made eight career Grey Cup appearances and led Montreal to victories in 2002, 2009 and 2010. After his last championship win, Calvillo made the stunning announcement he'd require off-season surgery to remove a lesion on his thyroid.
The operation was a success and Calvillo returned to play the following season.
He passed for more than 5,000 yards in a season seven times in his career and twice had a record four receivers each gain over 1,000 yards.
A five-time CFL all-star, Calvillo was named the league's outstanding player three times (2003, '08, '09). He began his career in '94 with the now defunct Las Vegas Posse before spending three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Hamilton released Calvillo after the '97 campaign, allowing him to sign with Montreal as a free agent.
Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo hands off to runningback Noel Devine as they face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during first quarter CFL football action Thursday, July 4, 2013 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo (13) celebrates a touchdown against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the second half of their CFL game at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg Thursday, June 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo throws a pass during first quarter Canadian Football League pre-season action against the Hamilton Tigercats Thursday, June 13, 2013 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo (13) throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of their CFL game at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg Thursday, June 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods