DOUG Brown is finally ready to call it a career.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers tackle, a fixture in the middle of the defensive line since the 2001 season, officially announced his retirement at a press conference this afternoon. The 37-year-old spent his entire 11-year CFL career with the Blue and Gold and continues to call Winnipeg home.
The news comes as no surprise. The popular Bomber told everyone that the 2011 season would be his last, stopping short of officially declaring anything by saying that he was "99.9 per cent sure" he was ready to walk away as his final season went along.
Drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in 1997 (fifth overall), the Simon Fraser University graduate went from the Canadian college game straight to the NFL, paying some dues on the Buffalo Bills practice roster before spending the next two years in Washington.
Brown took the 2000 season off and eventually came to Winnipeg. The Bombers acquired the 6-foot-8, 290-pound loquacious tackle for a pair of draft picks prior to the campaign.
From there, Brown went on to be one of the greatest players in Bombers history.
He was named a CFL all-star seven times (2001-02, 2006-10), a divisional all-star eight times (2001-02; 2006-11) and was nominated as the CFL's most outstanding Canadian three times, winning the award in 2001.
The New Westminster, B.C.-product was a runner-up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive player award in 2008. His 52 career regular season sacks is good for third on the club's all-time list, behind Tyrone Jones (98) and Tony Norman (69).
A terror in the middle of the line of scrimmage who often saw two blockers on every snap, Brown played in 188 regular season games, nine playoff games, and three Grey Cups (2001, 2007, 2011) over his 11 seasons.
Despite his Hall of Fame resumé, Brown never won a CFL championship. That fact might sting behind closed doors for big No. 97, but he never voiced his frustration about his lack of a ring or the Bombers' inability to consistently put a contender on the field during his tenure.
He had chances to move on and chase that title, but Winnipeg was his home.
"I'd feel like a mercenary. Like a soldier for hire," Brown told the Free Press in November, when the Bombers marched towards a Grey Cup appearance in Vancouver. "I've got so many ties that bind me to this community. I'd feel like I was selling out if I left. I've got so much invested here.
"If I can't do it here, I don't want to do it anywhere else."
Always good for a quote or an opinion on something both in the CFL and away from the three-down game, Brown's next chapter is expected to be documented in the media world.
On top of writing a weekly column for the Free Press and hosting a weekly radio show on CJOB, Brown also had an on-camera tryout with TSN during the first CFL free agency last February.