After months of uncertainty Angus Reid finally has an idea of what the present holds, but the future still remains hazy for the veteran B.C. Lions centre.
Reid has decided to have surgery to repair two herniated discs in his back that have prevented him from playing this entire CFL season. The procedure should alleviate the "24 hours of sheer, shooting nerve pain" Reid has experienced since training camp.
|Under the knife |
- Angus Reid
"I spent four months basically exhausting every type of treatment possible to get better," said the 37-year-old Richmond, B.C., native.
"We are at the point where nothing has worked. The pain is getting a lot worse. You have to take care of it properly. I'm just happy I can probably start getting better."
The surgery could be performed before the season ends. Recovery time is between two and three months. As for playing football next year, Reid isn't thinking that far ahead just yet.
"It's a matter of getting it done, seeing how I feel after I recover, seeing what options lay ahead and what I really want to do afterwards," he said. "I don't know. I don't want to think past just getting better at this point."
Like most professional athletes Reid has dealt with aches and soreness his 13-year career. But being forced to watch his teammates from the sidelines for an entire season has been a frustrating and painful experience.
"It sucks," said Reid.
"I've never dealt with anything like this. I've always been proud of myself for being a pretty mentally tough guy. I've always been able to deal with things. You figure 'it will get better, we'll just work through this'. It never did."
Reid's decision to go ahead with surgery comes with the Lions going through a two-game losing streak following a 40-26 loss at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders last week. B.C. faces a crucial test when the Lions travel to Regina to play the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday.
A loss would damage the Lions' hopes of hosting a home playoff game. It would move the Riders four points ahead of B.C. in the race for second place in the West, plus give Saskatchewan the season series. The Riders beat the Lions 31-17 at B.C. Place when the teams met on Oct. 4.
Reid went to training camp feeling the disgruntlement of the Lions' loss to the Stampeders in last year's Western Final. He also understood part of his job would be to mentor second-year player Matt Norman as the team's future centre.
Just a few days into camp the six-foot-one, 305-pound veteran felt like a fire was burning in his back. The damaged discs were "squishing" on the sciatic nerve, creating waves of pain.
"I thought it was going to be fine, then it got worse and worse," he said. "We tried stuff all season, cortisone shots, every therapy in the book.
"He's a positive energy when he's around," said Norman. "You really notice the difference when he's on the sideline. He offers insight, advice. He sees a lot of things on the field from the sideline. He's got a gift to see blitzes and things like that. He gives a lot of good feedback when you come off the field.
"I don't know what he plans on doing but I can definitely see him being able to coach at a high level."
Reid isn't sure if coaching is a path he wants to follow.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't like to close any doors. Honestly, I never thought of myself as a coach.
"I've tried to take any joy I could out of the season. One thing I have enjoyed has been the mentoring role and being able to pass on things I learned and help coach up the younger guys. I'm at the point I'm trying not come up with hypotheticals beyond what I have to take care of right now."
Reid has several options after football. He appears on a local radio station and does public speaking. He also operates a promotional printing business with his father. One of his hobbies is painting.
During his career Reid has won two Grey Cup rings, been a West Division all-star three times and a CFL all-star once. Like most players he wanted to leave football on his own terms but that decision may have been taken out of his hands.
"I never try to chase ghosts and think of different scenarios," Reid said. "Things happened and you deal with them.
"If this is the end, it's not the way I would have planned it but you have to live with that. This happened to me and you deal with it. If I don't play football anymore, that's a reality I have to deal with and move on. I'm not at that point yet."