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Terrence Edwards offered a lot of reasons for announcing his retirement from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Tuesday.
The seven-year veteran Bombers slotback said his body is tired and starting to break down. He wants to spend more time with his sons. There were some things he saw in the Bombers locker-room last season he didn't like.
But more than anything else, the one theme Edwards, 34, returned to again and again in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday was this -- he retired after a nine-year CFL career because he could do so with his head held high and entirely on his own terms.
'I want people to remember that I gave it my all. I was a leader in the locker-room -- I learned from Milt (Stegall)'
"For me personally, I definitely still think I can play. I still think I can be very productive and be a 1,000-yard receiver. But I'm walking away on my own terms and a lot of players don't get that opportunity," Edwards said from his off-season home in Atlanta.
Edwards will retire fourth in receiving yards on the Bombers' all-time list and coming off an injury-interrupted season in 2013 that still saw him haul down 47 catches for 547 yards and one TD despite missing five games.
While Edwards will retire having never won a Grey Cup and having endured a brutal run that's seen the Bombers miss the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, he says he will hang up his cleats without any regrets.
"I'm happy with the Winnipeg teams that I've been on. Of course, I'd have liked to have won more games and to win the two Grey Cups that we did play in (in 2007 and 2011). But at the end of the day, my career is what it is and I'm happy about that and I'm always going to be a Blue Bomber."
Edwards leaves just a week after the Bombers signed pricey free agent receiver Nick Moore away from the B.C. Lions, leading to speculation about the timing of Edwards' announcement -- particularly since Edwards signed a two-year contract extension with the Bombers just last year.
But Edwards remained adamant Tuesday's decision to retire was his and his alone. "Like I said, I went out on my own terms. The team didn't call me and say they were going to release me."
Edwards did, however, cryptically volunteer that there were some problems that developed within the Bombers locker-room during a miserable 3-15 season in 2013 that led in part to his decision to retire.
"I just felt that a lot of things that went on last year inside the locker-room -- and a lot of the things I saw inside the locker-room -- I just thought it was time. I think the organization is moving in the right direction," said Edwards.
Asked to elaborate on what he meant, Edwards retreated.
"I'm not really going to discuss what happened last year... It's a new season -- I don't want to hang anything over the organization. There were changes made, so apparently things weren't going the way we wanted them to go."
Edwards was asked how he'd like to be remembered now that his career is over.
"I want people to remember that I gave it my all. I was a leader in the locker-room -- I learned from Milt (Stegall). I carried myself as a professional, on and off the field. I didn't get in any trouble... I'm proud of that."
Edwards retirement also came on the same day TSN reported former Bombers receiver Chris Matthews -- who became a free agent last week -- had signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
Matthews was the 2012 CFL rookie of the year, but battled injury throughout the 2013 season. Matthews had made no secret of his desire to play in the NFL and his signing in Seattle Tuesday was not unexpected.
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