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Darian Durant announces retirement from the CFL
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 11, 2018 7:50AM CST
Last Updated Friday, May 11, 2018 9:23AM CST
Darian Durant has called it a career.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback surprisingly announced his retirement Friday on his website. The 35-year-old was poised to report to Blue Bombers training camp on May 20.
"I have some opportunities away from the field that will allow me to transition smoothly into the next stage of my life," Durant said. "I also became a father earlier this year and I being able to see my daughter grow up day-by-day has played a big part in this decision."
The five-foot-11, 214-pound Durant was entering his first season with Winnipeg after signing with the Bombers as a free agent in January. He spent last season with the Montreal Alouettes before being released.
Durant spent 11 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, leading the club to consecutive Grey Cup appearances (2009-10) before winning in 2013. The native of Florence, S.C., also was a backup when the Riders won the Canadian Football League title in 2007.
Durant appeared in 174 career games over 12 CFL seasons, starting 128. He compiled 31,740 passing yards and 167 TDs.
Durant stands 14th in all-time passing yards, registered 38 300-yard games and seven times had more than 400 yards passing in a contest. He also had 24 rushing TDs.
The Bombers were looking to Durant to back up veteran starter Matt Nichols. Winnipeg GM Kyle Walters admitted the club was caught by surprise with Durant 's decision.
"We were informed prior to the start of our mini-camp that Darian Durant , along with his family, was reconsidering continuing his career," Walters said in a statement. "Given the magnitude of this decision, we asked him to take the time to thoroughly consider his options and inform us of his decision.
"Ultimately, Darian has not informed the team of his decision, but we were notified through social media (Friday) morning that he has decided to retire from professional football. While we respect his decision, we are of course extremely disappointed. Until recently, Darian had given us every indication that he was accepting of his role as a backup and prepared to help our offence in any capacity possible. We recognize this has been a challenging and difficult process for Darian , and the uncertainty has been challenging from our perspective as well. We will move forward with the quarterbacks we currently have on our roster."
It seems the Bombers will lose more than just a quarterback. Durant reportedly won't be returning the $70,000 signing bonus he received upon signing his contract with Winnipeg.
In his statement, Durant thanked the former teammates and coaches he was associated with over his career. But he was especially thankful to Saskatchewan's rabid football fans.
"Last but not least, to my fans in Ridernation: If you cut me open, I am sure that I would bleed green," he said. "Saskatchewan and Regina will always be home.
"I always strived to be a Rider legend, and I am honoured to be spoken of in the company of George, Ron, Roger and Gene! I named my daughter Amayah Taylor, after Taylor Field. It meant so much to me to be able to play in the last game at "old" Mosaic Stadium. I hope to return and visit Saskatchewan sometime soon, and am working on launching a foundation to help raise funds and give back to the community that has given me so much."