After 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League, including six seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, receiver Andy Fantuz announced his retirement Thursday.
“Thank you ALL!” Fantuz said in a statement released by the Tiger-Cats.
“It has been an honour to represent the Tiger-Cats and Roughriders organizations, both on and off the field, for the past 12 years. The support from these two communities, and incredible reception I felt from all CFL cities, is what makes this game so special. I will keep you all in my heart forever.”
Fantuz, 34, played 148 CFL regular season games over 12 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2006-11) and Tiger-Cats (2012-17), registering 637 receptions for 8,363 yards and 44 touchdowns.
The 6-4, 218-pound receiver retires from the CFL ranked 18th all-time and fourth among Canadians in receptions, as well as 33rd all-time and ninth among Canadians in receiving yards.
Fantuz, the CFL’s 2010 Most Outstanding Canadian, also played in five Grey Cup games, winning one (2007) and earning the Dick Suderman Trophy as the game’s most valuable Canadian twice (2007, 2014).
“I want to thank my family and friends for their unconditional support,” Fantuz said.
“I want to thank my coaches, trainers, equipment staff, front office, support staff, media and volunteers for all the memories of this game I’ll never forget. To my teammates, I’m grateful to have gone to battle with talented athletes, strategized with incredible football minds, and developed lasting friendships with great people. To all the children out there with a dream – I was once a boy with a dream myself – believe me; everything that you can imagine is possible!”
Fantuz finished his Tiger-Cats career ranked tied for seventh in franchise history in receptions (348) and 13th in receiving yards (4,052).
He was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2016 – his most recent full season – after posting 101 receptions for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games with Hamilton, and finished the season ranked fifth in CFL receptions (101) and receiving targets (128) despite missing the final regular season game and playoffs with a torn ACL.
“On behalf of the Tiger-Cats, we’d like to congratulate Andy on a great playing career and wish him and his family the very best as he transitions to the next chapter of his life,” said Tiger-Cats Chief Executive Officer Scott Mitchell.
“He leaves the game as one of the best Canadian receivers to ever play in the CFL. Andy also made a lasting impression off the field throughout his career and will forever be part of the Tiger-Cats and CFL family.”
In addition to his Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 2010, Fantuz was also named a CFL and West Division All-Star after catching 87 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns with the Roughriders.
He attended training camp with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears before returning to Saskatchewan for his final season with the ‘Riders in 2011.
The Chatham, Ontario native was selected by the Roughriders with the third overall pick in the 2006 CFL Draft after a record-setting Canadian Interuniversity Sport career at Western University.
During his four years with the Mustangs (2002-05), Fantuz set new CIS and Ontario University Athletics marks for career receiving yards (4,123), single-season receiving yards (1,300 in 2002), career receptions (189) and career touchdown receptions (41). He was the recipient of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top player in CIS football in 2005.