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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Eiben retires, gets Ticats office gig

Posted: 03/7/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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KEVIN EIBEN is going out on his own terms.

The 12-year veteran linebacker retired Wednesday, accepting a front-office job with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Eiben played 11 seasons with the Toronto Argonauts before spending the 2012 campaign with the Ticats.

Eiben, 33, considered returning to Hamilton to compete for a special-teams position with the CFL club. But he decided ending 2012 as a starter and finishing the season against Toronto at Rogers Centre were a fitting way to end his career and turn his attention to helping sell sponsorship and premium product at the Ticats' new stadium that's scheduled to open in 2014.

"I pondered all my choices and it helped when I was presented an opportunity to transfer over to the business side with the Ticats," Eiben said. "That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I thought it would be a great experience to be able to grow with the organization."

The 6-foot, 208-pound Eiben was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 draft out of Bucknell University by Toronto. Eiben played safety in college but wasted little time impressing Argos officials in training camp as a rookie.

"I came in as a free safety because that's what I played at Bucknell and one of the first days in training camp I came downhill and just destroyed one of the running backs," Eiben recollected. "The next day I was at linebacker, the first time I was at that position was at the pro level."

Eiben excelled in his new position, registering 722 career tackles. That left him second only to former Toronto teammate Mike O'Shea (1,083) -- now the club's special-teams co-ordinator -- for the most the tackles by a Canadian in CFL history.

Eiben, of Delta. B.C., was named a league all-star three times and an East Division all-star five times over his career. He also registered 92 special-teams tackles, 10 interceptions and 15 sacks while earning a Grey Cup ring with Toronto in 2004.

Esks fined for tampering

TORONTO -- The CFL fined the Edmonton Eskimos $10,000 on Wednesday for violating its tampering rules when signing free agent defensive lineman Odell Willis.

Edmonton was the first team to announce a signing following the start of CFL free agency Feb. 15. Trouble was, the Eskimos made the announcement of its multi-year deal with Willis mere minutes after the noon ET deadline.

The 6-2, 255-pound Willis signed with Edmonton after registering six sacks last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"We respect the position taken by the Canadian Football League and commissioner Mark Cohon," Eskimos president Len Rhodes said in a statement. "As a result we feel that no other public comment is necessary nor will it be forthcoming from the Eskimo organization."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2013 D4

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