THE CANADIAN PRESS
HAMILTON, ON -- 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.
"I loved the role I played last year on special teams as a captain, a lot of guys came to me for advice, and I also was the (players' union) rep. The last five games, unfortunately JJ (veteran linebacker Jamall Johnson) was hurt but it gave me the opportunity to regain that feeling of starting and the energy of competing. Even better, I played my last game against the team I spent 11 years with and bled for back at Rogers Centre. I went out on a high note, I went out a starter and on my own accord. I have no regrets.''
The six-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.''