Stamps QB Andrew Buckley sacrifices one dream to pursue another

By Donna Spencer

CALGARY – Playing football and following his parents into medicine were Andrew Buckley’s childhood passions.

Two years into his pro football career with the Calgary Stampeders, the 24-year-old quarterback’s acceptance into medical school brought him to a fork in the road.

Buckley announced his retirement from the CFL on Monday. He was Calgary’s backup last season behind starter Bo Levi Mitchell.

A homegrown football product who starred with the University of Calgary Dinos before joining his hometown CFL team, the decision to retire was hard for Buckley.

He said he broke down in tears informing Stampeder head coach Dave Dickenson of his decision.

“I could hardly get a word out,” Buckley said Monday at McMahon Stadium. “It is tough. I’ve been given an incredible opportunity with the hometown team, a team that I’ve been cheering on since I was a kid.

“I’ve wanted to do med school since I was a little kid. Both my parents are doctors, so there’s a little bit of influence there.

“I was kind of one of those weird kids that probably grew up dreaming to be a doctor instead of a pro football player. The way things worked out, the door opened to play pro football and I ran through it and loved every minute of it.”

Buckley’s father Richard, also a former Dino, is an orthopaedic surgeon. His mother Lois is a general physician. Buckley was accepted into his alma mater’s medical school starting in July.

“The opportunity was too good not to take it,” Buckley said. “You can decline the offer and try and re-apply, but I’ve heard horror stories of people that do that and never get back in.”

A two-time winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top player in Canadian university football, Buckley also won the 2016 BLG award as U Sports male athlete of the year. The Stampeders drafted him in the seventh round in 2015.

In a league where Canadian quarterbacks are few and far between, Buckley was an impact player for the Stampeders.

Used for carries in short-yardage situations, he scored eight rushing touchdowns in 2016 and tied a CFL single-season record for rushing majors by a Canadian quarterback.

He scored a fourth-quarter touchdown in the Grey Cup that year.

Buckley had a career 57 carries for 157 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also completed 33 of 44 passes for 326 yards and a touchdown.

When Mitchell was rested Calgary’s regular-season finale in 2017, Buckley completed 13 of 18 passes for 120 yards in his first start.

It’s not unheard-of for football players to pursue medical degrees while they’re playing.

Montreal offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs has gone to med school in the off-season at McGill and is scheduled to graduate this year with his medical degree.

Montreal-born long snapper J.P. Darche began med school studies at McGill before he was drafted by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and later played in the NFL for Seattle and Kansas City. He resumed med school after retiring.

Buckley didn’t want to be in a position where he couldn’t devote his time and energy to his football team.

“Just given the course load and all the demands on my time that are going to be in school, I think it would be very, very difficult and I don’t think it would be fair to my teammates and to the team here not give 100 per cent of myself to the team,” he explained.

With training camp starting May 20, Buckley’s departure alters Dickenson’s depth chart at quarterback. Ricky Stanzi, the third-stringer in 2017, is now the favourite to be Mitchell’s backup.

Given the shortness of a professional football player’s career, Dickenson says he understands Buckley’s career change.

“We’ve groomed Andrew and I feel he could have been a starter and done well,” the coach said. “For him to just walk away, not too many people do that.

“But Andrew Buckley is not your everyday guy. It doesn’t surprise me that he has options.”

– CP


52 Comments on Stamps QB Andrew Buckley sacrifices one dream to pursue another

  1. Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 5:29 pm //

    Buckley is the exact type of character person the Stampeders look for. Interviews matter

  2. No offense to Buckley but the Stamps are probably better off. Any time I saw him play he was not good. The Stamps will now be able to groom a decent backup QB like everyone else. Win win for both parties.

    • You are a total moron. An absolute asshat. What a stupid thing to say.

      • I meant those comments for Area 51 not Yoshi. Sorry Yoshi.

      • BC Dave // May 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm //

        Totally agree. No use for that kind on here. Makes Red look like a Saint, and trust me, that ain’t easy. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and he’ll go to Dr. Buckley for open heart surgery, before Dr. Buckley becomes a thoracic surgeon.

        If Dr. Buckley specializes in proctology, I seen his first customer in waiting.

  3. Area51 // May 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm //

    I hope this guy is a better at being a doctor than he was at being a QB – – otherwise there’s going to be lots of dead patients.


  4. Ken Dryden played hockey then practiced law. Did Buckley have the same choice or did he simply have to med school now ?

    • Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm //

      Becoming a lawyer isn’t has demanding as becoming an MD. No way you could do both

      • BC Dave // May 7, 2018 at 10:07 pm //

        I just put you second last in the race. You actually moved up a notch after all this time. Don’t blow it now with a comment like that.

      • Amicus // May 8, 2018 at 7:35 am //

        Red. Try getting into a law school fool.

  5. Good luck to him in pursuing his childhood dream and long-term career!

  6. With both parents in the medical field, I can imagine there must have been some interesting conversation around the dinner table with regards to long term injuries, (concussion) etc.

    The young lad is making a smart choice for his future, and financial stability. Pretty sure he will keep his pulse on football, possibly coaching a pee wee or bantam team ? A lot of ex CFL players are doing this in Calgary, and it’s great to see.

    • Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 7:05 pm //

      Calgary is the place to be. You know that Yup.

      • Love it here, and have had some great Alumni coach my boys for years. Only issue I have is you continually bashing my team. If you could keep it between the lines, and tone it down – could be a great season of ball.

        • Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm //

          Being you live here and your kids may have been born here, it might be time to cheer for the home team.

          • Yes they were born here. Hell, I flogged pop and peanuts at McMahon with my buddies growing up. Spent hours there for provincial tryouts with the boys. But still am a die hard Rider, always will be.

          • BC Dave // May 7, 2018 at 10:13 pm //

            Let him be Red. I am a Lions fan living in Edmonton. I used to hate the eskimos and now they have grown on me a bit. I hated them for years because of fans like you. I actually started hating the stamps because of you. If you want to win fans over, you have to be respectful. You push them away, and HARD. Think about it. I have been a Lions fan since 1967, lived n Edmonton/area since 1969. I won’t change. Respect the loyalty people have and they will come to do the same.

          • Dave – I spent a lot of weekends in Edmonton for work. I sat with the regulars in the “Duke” and watched Rider games against their Esks on more than one occasion.

            Can honestly say…..I had a great time, and shared a lot of laughs and great conversation. A lot of good folks in the Chuck

        • Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm //

          I think you need to really listen to your heart, I think you will find you are a Stamps fan. Calgary is your home. You have no ties to the riders and no ties to the new Mosaic.

          • I think you really need to read your posts, then you will realize you are a Rider fan.

            See Red….friendly banter. Not that hard. Every time you feel the urge to be over the top obsessive…..just put another pin in your Chris Jones voodoo doll, and enjoy our game instead of hating 24/7

          • Puck Hog // May 7, 2018 at 8:48 pm //

            Ya, Red, you as an example of a Stamps fan holds a lot of clout when trying to convert someone from Canada’s Team to a team you represent. GYHAS!

          • Puck Hog // May 8, 2018 at 9:35 am //

            Yup, I agree with what you are saying about conducting friendly banter here, but with Red (spit now) you know that will NEVER happen. He is a sad, sorry example of a person. For years he has destroyed this site for the people who want to visit to read intelligent comment and insight. He is a bringer-down, not a builder-up. I will not play his game, but I will tell him to “shut up” at every opportunity. I encourage all to respond to him in this manner.

        • Mr Red // May 7, 2018 at 9:04 pm //

          Here’s what I’ve come to know.
          There are all these narratives out there that implies one from Saskatchewan must always be a rider fan even when their lives take them away forever. When people get these indoctrinated into there mind they believe it! This results in you telling yourself, you are from Saskatchewan therefore you are a rider fan, no other reason, no real thought as to why. Do I assume right in guessing your children are riderfans?

          • Puck Hog // May 8, 2018 at 9:25 am //

            Gawd! Just shut up!!

          • Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm //

            Wow and again you don’t read or understand your own post . If you left Calgary to another province would stay a stamps fan or adopt the team from that province ( if they would have you)

      • Green=Money // May 7, 2018 at 8:06 pm //

        He made the right choice. The city needs more doctors than football players

      • Calgary is a dust bowl. I bet you’ve never left it but yeah “best place to be”. Haha that’s funny.

    • Area51 // May 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm //

      Hey, if he coaches a pee wee football team maybe that little fellow Picton could be his starting QB?

      • BC Dave // May 7, 2018 at 10:18 pm //

        Maybe you could since you seem to think you know it all.
        Oh wait, just spouting off trying to look important behind a keyboard.
        You must really think you are something.
        I guess you are something, but something I can’t say on a public board LOL.

  7. White Horse // May 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm //

    Area51…another negative post. LOSER! Is that an attempt at humour? You failed again.

    • Garcia98 // May 7, 2018 at 7:23 pm //

      I’d have to agree with you about the negative post. Considering that he was a Canadian QB he did quite well for himself. He really progressed in his time with the Stamps. Given his intellect and work ethic he would have had a great shot at becoming a starter within a couple of years. I have to credit the Stampeder organization with giving a Canadian kid a chance. Of course, if they were to bring in an American at this position he may have been ready sooner but with BLM locked in at starter it created a great opportunity for Buckley. Scenarios like this in the CFL are rare. That Bridge kid is now our only remaining hope to emerge as the next Canadian QB success story.

  8. Darren // May 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm //

    Looks stupid now to have developed Andrew Buckley over Ricky Stanzi last year. It is almost a certainty that Bo Levi Mitchell will take his NFL shot at the end of 2018 and that means Ricky Stanzi better get some legit game reps in 2018 behind BLM. Huff has to be calling Brandon Silvers to beg him to come to camp.

    Stamps fans need to pray that Dickenson is smart enough to give 3 or 4 starts to Stanzi this year and that the young QB responds. Stanzi ran a Pro-Style West Coast offense in Iowa and that will help, but he needs pro reps this season to ensure the Stamps avoid collapsing and having to rebuild when BLM leaves for the NFL.

    Now before you even say it … yes Stamps fans BLM is on record with ESPN last training camp as to want to take an NFL shot when his contract is up. The direct quote from Mitchell last spring was, “Just now in training camp, there were seven or eight scouts who came in. I know there’s been some talk in the NFL about me. When my time comes, the NFL has been my dream since I was a kid. I’ll take that shot.”

    Looks like the Stamps are going into a transition year without Buckley and young QB in Stanzi who has almost no reps.

    • Lancaster/Reed // May 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm //

      Young? Hardly. Stanzi will be turning 31 this year. And his extremely limited playing time does not provide much hope for his future. 4 of 8 , 53 yds, 2 int. Thats some scary bad depth at qb, and it was only marginally better before buckley retired.

      • So he’s slightly older than Collaros is what your saying

        • Lancaster/Reed // May 7, 2018 at 11:50 pm //

          Completely irrelevant red. A #2 is usually either the qb of the future or and experienced backup. Stanzi is none of the above. But if huff is happy with his qb situation, good for him.

    • If you truly think Bo Mitchell is going to play in the NFL you’re living in a dream world, my friend.

      The NFL had ZERO interest in him when he came out of college. When you consider that even no-talent scrubs like Vern Adams and Justin Doltz at least got invites to rookie mini camps, that should tell you how little the NFL thinks of Mitchell.

      He just doesn’t have the arm strength to play in the NFL – – and unfortunately that’s not something that’s suddenly going to develop. If you watched last year’s Grey Cup, Mitchell’s lack of arm strength was painfully obvious when he threw up that rainbow that cost Calgary the Grey Cup. It was embarrassing to hang a throw so badly that the safety has enough time to close on the play like Matty Black did.

      • Darren // May 8, 2018 at 1:21 pm //

        Never said he would play … only that he would take a shot. If you think there is no interest in BLM in the NFL you are being delusional.

  9. Brad Turner // May 7, 2018 at 10:40 pm //

    As a long time Stamps fan I wish Andrew nothing but success in his future career! On the football side of things, I think this really opens the door for them to develop a QB from within. From what I hear, Christian Strong was a very good D2 QB and in the right system I believe he could really make a difference! He seems to have all the intangibles to make a difference for the team. Let’s go Stamps!!!!

    • Darren // May 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm //

      Do you really think he could drop in learn the offense, learn the CFL and learn how to be a pro enough to become a solid QB2 over Stanzi in a matter of weeks?

  10. Tinhead296 // May 7, 2018 at 11:33 pm //

    area 51 is equivalent to slimy worms that eat the maggots that eat the scum of the earth. The lowest of the low.

    • Just call it as I see it, my friend.

      Sometimes the cold hard reality can be painful, but deluding yourself into denying the truth is much worse.

  11. BC Dave // May 8, 2018 at 12:37 am //

    1. You are not my friend.
    2. You are right, cold hard reality is painful at ties. Take a tylenol and look in a mirror.
    3. You are not only incorrect a lot of times but when you express an opinion, it is usually rude and obnoxious.
    You do not fit in in a civilized site like this. and as you love to say, Just calling it as I see it “my friend”.

    • greenenvy? // May 8, 2018 at 12:59 am //

      Guess he wasn’t selling enough of his cold medicine on the side at McMahon. Seriously though, wish him the best. Stamps will have to find a good #2.

  12. Stamps dropped the ball again. Stanzi is next in line? The dude who trashed the KC Chiefs facilities? Hahahaha. Another cry baby for Calgary I guess.

  13. Habsnriders // May 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm //

    I don’t get the retirement at such a young age . He was playing football as a living he has plenty of time to enter the real world .
    If Mitchell wonky shoulder doesn’t hold up it could be a long season in Calgary .

    • Steve J. // May 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm //

      Habsnriders, he’ll make 10 times as much as a physician than he would ever make as a Canadian backup QB. Buckley has accomplished more at 24 than most people could ever hope for. All the best in your new career, Andrew.

  14. Edward Leslie // May 8, 2018 at 3:35 pm //

    That’s sad news. Retiring at such a young age, but obviously going to Med school and becoming a doctor is a great opportunity.
    In spite of some of the inexplicable negative opinions here, Buckley did quite well. He won two Hec Crighton awards in USports. He managed to gain entrance in the “American quarterbacks only need apply” CFL country club. He beat out U. of Hawaii starter Bryant Moniz for the #3 spot in 2016. He beat out former NFLer Ricky Stanzi for the #2 spot in 2016. He had a completion percentage of around 75%. He was only surpassed by Jerome Messam and Marquay Mcdaniel for TDs the last two seasons with the Stamps. Not bad at all, and still just 24.

    Even though training camps are just around the corner, Calgary is nowhere near the 75 man roster limit and has just two QBs signed: BLM and Ricky Stanzi.
    Maybe they might want to bring back Drew Tate who was released by Ottawa recently? They might also want to give another talented Usports QB a chance. Noah Picton deserves a shot with somebody and Calgary needs QBs. A perfect match.

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