Obby KHAN still has an appetite for what's cooking on the gridiron.
The former Winnipeg Blue Bombers centre is close to inking a deal with the Calgary Stampeders, a source close to the situation confirmed Friday. Khan was coy about the situation when reached Friday, unwilling to comment on things until they became official, but all signs point to the veteran coming out of retirement to join the Stamps.
Khan, 31, retired from the Bombers three months before the 2012 season, catching many off guard with his announcement. The club asked Khan to take a pay cut and told him that his starting spot would be up for grabs in training camp. Not willing to agree to those terms, and not wanting to leave Winnipeg at this stage of his life, Khan weighed his options and chose to hang em up.
He was released from the final year of his Winnipeg contract when he announced his retirement in March (making him a free agent), but never did file his retirement papers with the league. At the time, the non-import lineman told reporters he was at peace with his decision, though it was obvious he was not ready to close the book on his football career.
"I still think I can play, I really do believe I can still play," Khan told media at an emotional press conference March 25. "It's not an issue of whether I can play or not. It's an issue of what do I feel I should do with the rest of my life."
Khan's next move was to be a restaurant owner, as he remains the front man for Shawarma Khan, a downtown, Middle-Eastern eatery. The restaurant was to open this summer but delays have pushed the opening back to late fall or early winter.
The silver lining for Khan: The later start date gives Khan a window to continue his CFL career.
From Ottawa, Khan was selected by Winnipeg with the second pick in the 2006 Ottawa Renegades' dispersal draft and started all 18 games in his first season with the Bombers. The 6-3, 290-pound Simon Fraser product missed much of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with a serious illness but fought back and returned to the lineup in 2009, playing in all 18 games.
Khan, a popular and respected player through his eight-year CFL career, started at centre in 15 regular-season games and both playoff contests for Winnipeg in 2011, and should provide some depth and experience to the Stamps offensive line. Calgary's unit is coming off a successful effort in a 31-20 win over Hamilton Thursday night, opening up space for running back Jon Cornish to rush for 170 yards on 20 carries.
BACK TO WORK: While a former Bomber heads west to continue his career, the current edition of the Blue and Gold returns to the Canad Inns Stadium practice field this morning.
The Bombers (1-5) will shake some of the rust off with an hour-long workout, starting at 10:30 a.m. Sunday's practice time will likely move back to 1 p.m., as the Canadian Junior Football League's Winnipeg Rifles are scheduled to host the Edmonton Wildcats at 10 a.m.
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