In the world of football, being universally respected can be difficult if not downright impossible. Odds are you’re bound to upset someone along the way.
Every so often, someone comes along and is able to buck the trend and do just that. There’s no question that John Chick is one of those players.
The defensive end who spent much of his CFL career with the Riders, there were stops in Hamilton and Edmonton, called it a career on Friday. Not surprisingly, after Chick made the news official, the accolades and praise started pouring in from across the league. Teammates, rivals, coaches, management, media or fans, it didn’t matter: there was nothing but praise for Chick’s career and the man himself.
Of course, when someone retires, it’s unlikely that other players, coaches or managers would speak poorly of another players career. However, the pure volume speaks to the kind of man Chick is and all of it is certainly warranted.
None of this even considers just how good of a football player Chick was. His numbers – 240 tackles and 72 quarterback sacks in 125 career games – and play speak for themselves. If Chick was on your team, no matter how he was feeling that day, physically or mentally, you knew that you were going to get the absolute best out of him on every single play whether it was a game or practice. That was true if Chick’s team was winning the Grey Cup or going 5-13.
Being a great player will get you recognition, but being universally loved and respected comes down to so much more.
In Saskatchewan, Chick was everything mentioned so far and more. He was involved in the community. He is an amazing role model for other people living with physical or medical conditions as a type 1 diabetic. He was a tremendous teammate and an elite football player.
Chick was a leader in the locker room who always answered every question asked of him with honesty and was never afraid to place blame upon himself even if it wasn’t warranted. He led by example on the field and every day by never taking a rep off. Chick continued that trend in both Hamilton and Edmonton.
Basically, if you wanted to build a near perfect football player, both physically and mentally, Chick would be one of the better options out there.
For some, it’s disappointing that Chick didn’t get play his entire CFL career in green and white, but that’s the business of football. A tough decision had to be made.
As difficult as that decision might have been, the next one when it comes to Chick’s career won’t be. We’ll see Chick back in Regina in three years as he gets inducted into the Riders Plaza of Honour.
What a night that will be for Chick who is a rare type of player.