Despite battling through injuries this year, offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl isn’t ready to step away from professional football and is planning to return next year for a 14th season in the CFL.
“I have some things that are looming and I’ve gotta deal with them but outside of that, I have every intention of coming back. I always kind of have the mentality of if anyone can do it, I can do it. I enjoy the game, I still love it. I loved being out there [during the East Semi-Final] with the guys even though it was in a very small capacity. I look forward to having that opportunity again next year,” Van Zeyl told the media in Hamilton.
Van Zeyl started the first six games of the season at right tackle before missing the rest of the year due to injury. The Ticats allowed an average of 3.2 sacks per game with him in the lineup and 1.5 sacks per game after he was added to the six-game injured list. This wasn’t the only change that took place along the club’s offensive line as Alex Fontana was eventually replaced at centre after David Beard was acquired from the Edmonton Elks.
The 39-year-old was the second-oldest player in the CFL this past season behind only Job Ryan. The veteran punter plans to retire this off-season, which would make Van Zeyl the league’s oldest active player if he indeed returns next season.
Van Zeyl was a third-round pick of the Montreal Alouettes in the 2007 CFL Draft out of McMaster University. He joined the Toronto Argonauts in September 2008 where he was converted to the offensive line and dressed for 156 games over 11 seasons. He signed with Hamilton in May 2019 and has started 30 games over the past three seasons, though he has dressed for only 13 contests over the past two years due to injury.
The native of Fonthill, Ont. has been named an East Division all-star seven times and a CFL all-star three times. He was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2019.