Future Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee Michael Reilly announced his retirement on Monday, which drew a strong reaction from the CFL community.
The 36-year-old quarterback first joined the league in 2010 and has since captured the hearts and minds of fans across the league with his exceptional play and affable personality. Named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2017, Reilly has finished his career as the fourteenth-ranked passer in league history with 34,805 yards.
There has been an outpouring of support for Reilly since his retirement was announced and we’ve made a collection of those messages below. Let’s start with the notes from his former coaches, teammates, and opponents.
Michael Reilly you’re the epitome of a Warrior!!!! Congratulations on an outstanding career and thank you for your unselfish commitment to winning. It was a pleasure to coach you! #ThankYouReilly @BCLions @CFL
— Wally Buono (@WallyBuono) January 25, 2022
A true champ in every sense of the word. Heck of a run, Mike. #ThankYouReilly
Also, please return my call. I know you’re not “working out” this time… https://t.co/7KeoqC6VNP
— Travis Lulay (@TravisLulay) January 24, 2022
— Bryan Burnham (@RealBBurnham) January 24, 2022
Congrats on retirement brother!! Awesome playing with, and against you. We had some great battles over the years. Always appreciated our talks about dealing with everything it takes to be a pro quarterback. Respect ✊???? #13 pic.twitter.com/sQBuywBayn
— Matt Nichols (@MattNichols16) January 24, 2022
— Adarius Bowman (@AdariusBowman) January 25, 2022
The CFL won’t be the same! Good luck in the next chapter buddy! First ballot Hall of Fame no doubt. https://t.co/8djUh3aMmd
— Adam Bighill (@Bighill44) January 25, 2022
The league lost a great one in Mike Reilly one of the best to ever do it! Not only that one of the most genuine humans around! Love that guy wish I got to play with a warrior of a QB like him! Enjoy retirement my brother. @CFL
— Jovon Johnson (@Mr_Consistent_2) January 24, 2022
Now let’s take a look at those who knew Reilly as members of the media. The gregarious quarterback had a sterling reputation for offering honest answers and not shying away from answering tough questions. Messages below include those from print media, digital media, radio, TSN producers, and CFL communications staff.
Congrats to Michael Reilly on retirement. 13 was a rare mix – he won games & sold tickets My thanks for making every pre & post game show better with honest,insightful comments. One of the great EE players of all time. Literally on my Wall of Honour pic.twitter.com/4lz2luKo1a
— Morley Scott (@Morley_Scott) January 25, 2022
I have nothing but respect for Michael Reilly. Always co-operative, a great quote and interview and had awesome hats. He played the CFL game so well. Good luck in retirement. Here's my most recent story with Michael. https://t.co/4V8JmMPO2K
— Murray McCormick (@murraylp) January 24, 2022
Michael Reilly’s retirement deprives the CFL of one of the greatest ambassadors the league has ever had, not to mention one helluva player. He will be missed big time.
— Bob Irving (@BobIrvingCJOB) January 24, 2022
QB is the toughest position to master.
Not only because it’s really hard to throw a ball 40 yards into a bucket, but because playing it requires you to be a team leader, media spokesperson, community catalyst.
Reilly put his everything into being that guy & was great at it. ???? https://t.co/d1UyVqYbFS
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) January 25, 2022
I can’t say enough good things about Michael Reilly. An absolute gem of a person to cover and so much fun to watch play. Wishing him and the family all the best in their next chapter. The league won’t be the same without you! https://t.co/W8OCq1lX3o
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) January 25, 2022
You will never find a more dedicated athlete, a better prepared individual, a tougher competitor, and undisputed leader than Michael Reilly. One of the best QB's in EE history. One of the best people I've had the chance to work with and get to know. #ThankYouReilly #13 #Elks #CFL https://t.co/lwWbN1bgA5
— Dave Campbell (@Dave_CHED) January 24, 2022
The CFL was a better league because Michael Reilly played in it. All you can do is say thank you, really. https://t.co/ovce6O4FpL
— Danny Austin (@DannyAustin_9) January 24, 2022
Best wishes to Michael and family. We called his first preseason game when he drove the field twice in the final 5 minutes to secure a job and he never looked back. Fearless and always forthcoming. A warrior and class act. #respect
— Chris Cuthbert (@CCpxpSN) January 24, 2022
Next stop: the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to Michael Reilly on a great CFL career. One of the smartest, toughest, and most talented quarterbacks the league has ever seen.#BCLions | #Vancouver | #CFL | @CFHOF https://t.co/tk2BK96pA8
— John Hodge (@JohnDHodge) January 24, 2022
There’s few players I’ve enjoyed watching play more or had more respect for than Michael Reilly.
A first-class competitor, great talent and leader of men, he was the quintessential QB whose teammates would follow him anywhere – I would’ve.
Congrats on an outstanding career, #13!
— Chris Edwards (@CEdwardsTSN) January 24, 2022
Great player to watch, even better person to interact with over the years. Thank you for sharing your candor & humanity.
Michael will have plenty of opportunities in the next phase of his working career, wish him nothing but the best! https://t.co/6lynLPTkO3
— Scott Rintoul (@ScottRintoul) January 24, 2022
One of the great QBs and people in this league has decided to hang ‘em up.
Wishing Michael Reilly all the best in his next chapter. https://t.co/NSalvayOQw
— ???????????????????????? ???????????????????????????? (@DarrinBauming) January 24, 2022
Two Grey Cups, one most outstanding player award, four times league passing leader, the man whose recommendation gave Adam Bighill his shot in pro football. You enriched the league with your presence, Michael Reilly. Thanks for the memories. #BCLions and the #CFL salute you.
— Mike Beamish (@sixbeamers) January 24, 2022
As my Mom would say, “That Michael Reilly is one tough SOB.” Congrats on a Hall of Fame career Mr. Reilly. ????????
— Rod Pedersen (@rodpedersen) January 24, 2022
They don't come tougher, smarter, more determined, more honest or more likeable than Michael Reilly. The CFL won't be the same without him. Wishing him the best in retirement. https://t.co/VVITN3zqOI
— Chris O'Leary (@olearychris) January 24, 2022
— Robert F. (Bob) Butrym (@BobButrym) January 25, 2022
Fun watching him play and a treat to deal with. Warrior. https://t.co/1oPJ1JFogp
— AJ Jakubec (@TheSuperAJ) January 24, 2022
The #CFL won’t be the same without Michael Reilly. A great quarterback, tough as nails, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer in terms of dealing with the media. All the best to him in retirement. #BCLions
— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) January 24, 2022
My fave Michael Reilly play. We’re at CFL Week and he has been talking football with fans in Regina for an hour longer than planned — and the line-up to meet him is still a mile long. I offer to help extricate him. His reponse: “I’m good! This is great!”
— Matt Maychak (@MMaychak) January 24, 2022
Reilly also received an outpouring of support from CFL fans across the country. It speaks volumes that many of the quarterback’s biggest fans do not cheer for the B.C. Lions or Edmonton Elks, yet they still admired the way in which he played the game.
So many tweets congratulating
Mr. Micheal Reilly on his retirement. And everyone of them is so well deserved. He is not just a great QB. But a great ambassador for the @CFL. He was easy to cheer for, even if he was never on "my team". All the best in your retirement Sir!
— ????Shawn???? (@Riderprider19) January 25, 2022
Congrats on your retirement to Mike Reilly!!! Good luck in your future! ???????? pic.twitter.com/RnDOD2umTm
— Tiff (@thecflartist) January 24, 2022
— Cԋαɳƚҽʅʅҽ EE Mιʅʅҽɾ ™???????? (@TrixieLeRue) January 24, 2022
As a Bombers fan, congrats on retirement, Michael. You were a hell of a player that was as tough as nails. Wishing you all the best.
— Hadley Mitchell (@Hads34) January 24, 2022
One of my favourite players of all time.
Tougher than a two dollar steak and a hat game that will forever be unmatched.
Enjoy your retirement, sir. https://t.co/bAe041x1tz
— ???????????????????????????????????????? (@fakeGAINER) January 25, 2022
#ThankYouReilly thanks Michael for all you did for the @CFL, both on the gridiron & when meeting fans. Hope you have a great retirement & smooth transition to that next phase in life.
But I got to ask, who is going to “needle” @BakesTakes84 now? pic.twitter.com/aZuPxa62ik
— Dave Wardle (@BCCardiacKid) January 24, 2022
— Andrew Nielsen ♿️⬇️???? (@AndrewONielsen) January 24, 2022
— CFL Horsemen (@CFL_Horsemen) January 24, 2022
Thank you Michael Reilly for the memories. The day I took this picture, we didn't know for sure you were leaving the #EE, but I called out, "We love you Mike!" You looked up, smiled & gave me a wave.Enjoy your retirement, we will miss seeing you play. ???????? #Superstar pic.twitter.com/oMZdO7Q9dv
— Celeste (@justcallmeGrams) January 24, 2022
Incredible career, true leader, and a great human. Hopefully this isn't the end of Michael Reilly with the CFL totally. Hopefully a broadcast career is next. https://t.co/dY4teiIBYU
— Matthew Iwanyk (@matthewiwanyk) January 24, 2022
Congrats on a stellar career Michael Reilly!! Enjoyed watching your career in the CFL. One of the toughest to play this game. Enjoy your retirement!! https://t.co/tAbLEdKJMN
— Allison Zimmer (@Bomberfan4life) January 24, 2022
The hardest part about Michael Reilly’s retirement is that I am now older than every player on the roster. Ugh. @NCMCEVOY can we sign some old guys so I feel better about myself?
— Carolyn Cody (@caughtathome) January 25, 2022
— YoungJudd (@YoungJudd_1) January 24, 2022
Not many more great people in the CFL than Michael Reilly. Honestly, one of the nicest guy's you'll EVER meet. Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame person. Enjoy retirement, Michael!
— Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD) January 24, 2022
The commissioner of the CFL also weighed in on Reilly’s retirement.
Congratulations Michael on an outstanding career. Thank you for being an incredible ambassador for the #CFL, and for all your work in the community to grow our great game. All the best as you begin this new and exciting chapter. #ThankYouReilly https://t.co/WKUZNrNZh6
— Randy Ambrosie (@RandyAmbrosie) January 24, 2022
And how about this one? A message from his father, Pat, who often drove up from his home in Montana attend Michael’s games live.
28 years ago he asked me to help get him to pro football. He did everything ever asked by his coaches. For 28 years I have dreaded this moment. I love you and am so proud of you #13. Enjoy your retirement, you earned it.
— Pat Reilly (@patreilly67) January 24, 2022
And from all of us here at 3DownNation, congratulations on your retirement, Michael Reilly. It was a pleasure watching you play in our league. All the best to you and your family.