It turns out retirement wasn’t quite right for Bruce Campbell.
Campbell ruffled some feathers when he announced his retirement last season, after the Roughriders acquired him in a trade with Toronto.
He was the second player to retire before even wearing a Roughrider jersey that year. Maurice Price also cut his football career short, announcing his retirement several weeks before.
“I just felt like at the end of 2015 that my body and the love (of the game) was gone,” Campbell said. “I guess I just needed a little break. The love never left … and that’s what caused me to come back.”
It took that full year away from football before Campbell realized he wasn’t finished with the game. He also remained in contact with the head coach, Chris Jones.
“Sometimes too much contact,” Campbell said with a bit of a laugh. “This is probably going to sound weird but … it almost got to the point where it was annoying because I was kind of telling him ‘no, no, no.’”
But the fact that he never told Jones to leave him alone and kept responding to his messages was another sign to Campbell that maybe he wasn’t ready to leave the game.
“If I was true to my word and true to my retirement, I would have said ‘hey, stop hitting me up — I really don’t want to come back.’”
Jones said Campbell brings necessary depth to the offensive line and takes away the worry, if something were to happen to Thaddeus Coleman or Derek Dennis.
“We’ve got three veteran offensive tackles now (so) … if we have an injury to the other two, we don’t have rely on a young guy to come off the PR and protect our quarterback,” Jones said.
The catalyst for Campbell return, aside from some prodding from Jones, came on May 25. Campbell turned 29 and wanted to make the most of the final year of his twenties.
“I’m just going to run with what I love to do, which is follow my dream and continue to play football,” he said.
And now he gets to do it with one of the best fan bases in the CFL. Campbell played the 2015 season with the Toronto Argonauts, a team that struggled with attendance and attention in the bustling Toronto sports market. Playing somewhere were football matters made the comeback even easier for Campbell.
“I really love the fan base and that’s another reason I decided to come out of retirement,” he said.
“I’m really happy and I really understand why KG (Kevin Glenn) says everybody in the league should be a Roughrider because it’s worth it. I will not regret this decision I made.”
Odds and endzones
- Receiver Rob Bagg was back out on the field taking reps with the starters, though Jones would not yet say if he was going to play on Saturday.
- Many of the other players on the one game injured list were back on the field Tuesday as well, including Jonathan Newsome, Kienan LaFrance and Quinn van Gylswyk.
- When asked Tuesday, Chris Jones said he stood by the decision to put Brandon Bridge into the game in the red zone last week against Montreal. Bridge came into the game after Kevin Glenn had marched the team down the field. “We had our group that runs our wild cat package and then we were predicting something coverage-wise and that’s why we did it,” Jones said. “I think it was the right decision, I don’t ever second guess our coaches.”