Tiger-Cats’ 38-year-old Canadian OL Chris Van Zeyl: ‘I still have some football ahead of me’

Photo courtesy: Ticats.ca

Age is just a number and it doesn’t factor in when Canadian offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl decides on his football future.

The 38-year-old has played 12 seasons and 180 games in the CFL. And the three-time league all-star already knows he wants to be on the field again in 2022.

“Without question I’m going to be playing again next year. My body feels incredible, I have a couple bumps and bruises and whatnot,” Van Zeyl said.

“When you put yourself on that stage in the Grey Cup and you feel as good as I felt — I thought I played pretty well — when I reflect and watch the game, there’s no question I think I still have some football ahead of me.”

The six-foot-six, 312-pound Van Zeyl started at right tackle in the CFL championship on Sunday, December 12 when the Tiger-Cats lost 33-25 in overtime to the Blue Bombers. It was the second straight defeat Hamilton suffered against Winnipeg with the big silver trophy on the line, but the latest one will be on his mind during the off-season.

“Monday was like a hangover day, not so much in the sense that I went out and drank a bunch, but as far as the numb and empty feeling of losing. For us to be as close as we were and fall short, the effort we put in, all we sacrificed all year, all those factors, it hurts,” Van Zeyl said.

“You have to move forward like anything in life and some things get pushed into the subconscious, but they always remain, teach you and allow you to grow. If you don’t learn anything from it, that’s a missed opportunity.”

Van Zeyl has won two Grey Cups, both with the Toronto Argonauts. However, the Fonthill, ON native wants to win one with the franchise located closest to his hometown. The league’s 2019 Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman is a pending free agent in February, but it’s clear he wants to stay in the Steel City.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.