THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Alouettes opened training camp Sunday with a huge hole to fill on their offensive line.
Veteran centre Bryan Chiu abruptly announced his retirement on the day the Alouettes officially opened training camp at Bishop's University. The 35-year-old Vancouver native spent his entire 13-year CFL career with the Alouettes and had re-signed with the club in February.
“It's official.... After much thought and discussion with my wife I have decided to announce my retirement,” Chiu said on his Twitter account. “Pretty emotional. I love this team.”
The six-foot-two, 300-pound Chiu had pondered retirement in the off-season. But his decision was surprising given he had re-signed with the Alouettes and Friday was among the players and front-office staff who formally received their championship rings for the club's 28-27 Grey Cup victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Montreal selected Chiu in the second round, 18th overall, in the 1996 CFL Canadian college draft out of Washington State. He appeared in a franchise-record 218 career games.
“Today, we celebrate a fantastic career and we thank Bryan for his courage, commitment, toughness and leadership throughout the years,” said Alouettes general Manager Jim Popp in a statement.
Chiu was named a CFL all-star on seven occasions and in 2002 was honoured as the league's top lineman. He was a member of two Grey Cup-winning teams.
The Alouettes are expected to shift veteran guard Paul Lambert to centre to replace Chiu.