‘I’m just chasing this ring’: Brandon Banks ready to retire if Argos win the Grey Cup

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Toronto Argonauts’ receiver Brandon Banks has accomplished a lot during his nine-year CFL career but there is one accolade that has eluded him.

“I’m just chasing this Grey Cup right now,” Banks told former teammate Simoni Lawrence on his Pay Me to Stop podcast. “If we would have won it last year, I probably wouldn’t be still playing.”

The 34-year-old has appeared in four Grey Cups, all with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but was unable to hoist the trophy following any of those appearances.

“I’m about to retire,” Banks told Lawrence, but his desire to finally have his name etched on Canadian football’s most hallowed trophy keeps him going.

After coming to the CFL following a three-year stint with Washington in the National Football League, Banks made an instant impact on special teams, helping get the Ticats to their first title game appearance in 14 years in 2013.

Banks immediately adapted to the Canadian game, which he thinks better suits his dynamic skill set.

“The way my game is suited in football, I think the CFL game is perfect,” Banks said. “For a little speedy guy like myself, the field is so wide and so big and I just get the space and opportunity to be myself and kill people with speed.”

Banks’ remarkable career, especially for a guy of his size, took off in the years that followed with him being named a league all-star four times, an East Division all-star every year between 20114-2019, the league’s top special teams player in 2015 and the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2019.

That 2019 season was Hamilton’s best ever, finishing a franchise-best 15-3 but it ended as every Ticats’ campaign since 1999 has: without a title.

While Banks emphatically, and rightfully, states that he “don’t have nothing to prove to nobody,” the prospect of ending his career without ever winning a championship keeps the fires burning.

One of the reasons Banks is looking to end his career is that he wants to spend more time with his children.

“I’m ready to be around my kids,” said Banks. “But I’m just chasing this ring.”

The Ticats’ Grey Cup loss last December, the team’s fourth with Banks on the roster, would be Speedy B’s final game in black and gold as the organization and player parted ways this past off-season. Banks signed with the Toronto Argonauts not long after.

Ironically, Banks may have his best chance to win a championship now that he has traded in his black and gold for Cambridge and Oxford blue. The Argos currently sit first in the East Division, have already clinched a playoff berth and look in fairly decent shape to lock up home field for the East Final next month.

The Argonauts are also historically the more successful franchise than their provincial rivals. Toronto has won 17 Grey Cup titles to Hamilton’s 15, and the Argos have won their last six trips to the championship game. Toronto last suffered defeat in the title game back in 1987 when they lost 38-36 to Edmonton, while the Ticats have not won a Grey Cup this millennium, last winning it all in 1999.

If the Boatmen end their 2022 campaign by hoisting their 18th championship and Brandon Banks finally gets to raise the Grey Cup over his head for the first time, do not be surprised if that ends up being the final game for one of the best players of his generation.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.