The league has been on hiatus since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced players to reconsider their professional lives. Many elected to pursue new career paths, leading them to retire from the CFL.
Today we’re reminding you about some of the players who stepped away from the game over the past year.
Players are listed alphabetically by last name.
OL Shane Bergman
The six-foot-seven, 345-pound blocker was named a CFL all-star for the first time in 2019, receiving some long-overdue recognition. He retired in January 2021 at the age of 30 following a seven-year career during which he won two Grey Cups, citing the desire to spend more time with his family.
DB Delvin Breaux
The three-time all-star retired in March 2021, finishing his CFL career with 110 tackles, six forced fumbles, and two interceptions. The 31-year-old has since become a best-selling author for his autobiography Unbreauxken, which reflects on his remarkable comeback following a broken neck he suffered in high school.
REC Ricky Collins Jr.
The 29-year-old had his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2019 with Edmonton but was released in January 2021 prior to receiving an off-season roster bonus. He received interest on the free agent market, but ultimately decided to retire the following month in order to spend more time with his young family.
LB Solomon Elimimian
The future Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee still serves as the president of the CFLPA, but announced his retirement as a player in February 2021. He finished his ten-year CFL career with 869 total tackles, 33 sacks, nine forced fumbles, eight sacks, six all-star selections, and four league awards.
QB James Franklin
The 29-year-old passer announced his retirement in April 2021, citing his waning passion for the game he used to love. Once thought to be the CFL’s next big star, Franklin passed for just 2,856 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions after departing Edmonton in search of a starting job with the Argos.
RB C.J. Gable
The USC product turned 32 near the end of the 2019 season, but that didn’t prevent him from recording a second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season with Edmonton. The two-time East Division all-star rushed for 4,803 yards and recorded 2,225 receiving yards before announcing his retirement in April 2021.
RB Jeremiah Johnson
The five-foot-nine, 210-pound ball carrier averaged an impressive six yards per carry with Montreal in 2019, though it would be his last in the CFL. The Oregon product retired in February 2020 having rushed for 3,683 yards and 34 touchdowns as a member of the Argonauts, Redblacks, Lions, and Alouettes.
FB Calvin McCarty
The popular fullback played 13 seasons with Edmonton, recording 2,005 rushing yards, 1,615 receiving yards, 85 special teams tackles, and 30 touchdowns. He retired in March 2021 at the age of 36 and is now an assistant coach with the Bellerose Bulldogs of Bellerose Composite High School in Edmonton.
REC Bryant Mitchell
The 28-year-old had a breakout year with Edmonton in 2018, making 60 receptions for 867 yards and three touchdowns in just eleven games. He signed with Winnipeg in February 2021 following a stint in the NFL but decided to retire the following month to spend more time with his young family.
RB Tyrell Sutton
The former league all-star appeared in only four games with Hamilton in 2019 but made the most of them, recording 329 yards on just 46 touches. He retired in March 2021, ending his seven-year CFL career with 4,044 rushing yards, 1,665 receiving yards, and 21 total touchdowns.