The end of Hunt-ing season
On Oct. 26th Reggie Hunt, who starred on the Saskatchewan Roughriders defence from 2002-07, retired at age 34 from professional football as an official member of the Green and White.
Before coming to Saskatchewan, Hunt tallied over 250 tackles, forced seven fumbles, and nabbed three interceptions during his collegiate career at Texas Christian University.
After his tenure at TCU, Hunt signed on with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers and was later allocated by the team to play in Scotland under the now-defunct NFL Europe banner.
“It was a great time and I loved it,” Hunt said of his time as a professional football player in Europe. “But at first, I kind of questioned it. I was looking to do anything that would help better my chances of being a professional football player in the NFL, though.”
Following his experience overseas, Hunt – who spent one year as a member of the Scottish Claymores – was soon introduced to the world of Canadian football.
“I got released from the San Diego Chargers, and the first thing that my agent told me was that there was a team in Canada – the Saskatchewan Roughriders – that wanted to sign me,” Hunt explained with a laugh. “The first thing that I asked him was, ‘Where in the world is that?’"
After Hunt signed a contract with Saskatchewan – and was shown exactly where the province is located – it didn’t take long for the Texas product to make his mark on the organization.
A pillar of the Roughriders defence for the better part of a decade, Hunt appeared in 106 regular season games with Saskatchewan and picked up nearly 500 total tackles, 27 quarterback sack,s and was directly involved in nabbing 20 turnovers.
While Hunt admitted that he went to NFL Europe to find a way back onto an NFL roster, Hunt – who helped lead the Roughriders to a rare Grey Cup victory in 2007 – claims to have made his move to Saskatchewan for other reasons.
“When I came to the CFL, I wanted to get out of it exactly what I ended up accomplishing. I wanted to be a successful player and win a championship. I wanted to be a leader in the process and be a guy that most guys could look up to. At the end of it all, I wanted to say that I left it all on the field,” Hunt explained. “I feel great about what I was able to accomplish. I did exactly what I intended on doing.”
Although it’s been over four years since Hunt last suited up for the Roughriders, the four-time CFL West all-star officially walked away from the game as a member of the Green and White after signing a one-day contract with the team.
According to Hunt, although he spent time as a member of the Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos in 2008 and 2009 respectively, retiring as a Roughrider was an appropriate way to end his playing career.
While his retirement may have signaled an official end to his playing days, Hunt – who plans on trying his hand at coaching in the future – isn’t done with the game just yet.
“Honestly, I didn’t always want to coach. It didn’t don on me until halfway through my CFL career,” Hunt said. “I feel like I’m just now getting started with football. All of these years of playing have given me a lot of experience and I’ve also had the privilege of working with some of the greatest defensive coordinators at each level. I’d like to pass that down, myself, in the future.”
Moving forward, Hunt – who is in the final stages of working towards a degree in kinesiology at TCU – is hoping for a fulfilling career on the sidelines.
“A great coach is a coach that a player wants to play for. When you have a coach that would do everything that they can to help you succeed, you want to play for that coach. I think guys will want to play for me, because I can relate and I know what it takes to win. I’m looking forward to showing that,” Hunt said. “I think the sky is the limit. Right now, I want to be the best coach that I can possibly be and I think the future is very bright in coaching.”
Regardless of where he goes in the world of football, Hunt attested that Saskatchewan – and Rider Nation – will have a permanent place in his heart.
“I just want to say, ‘Thank you for everything,’ to each and every last one of the fans. It’s been a joy to play in Saskatchewan and I can’t imagine going out any other way than how I went out with the Roughriders,” Hunt said. It’s been great and if I could thank every one of them face-to-face, I would.”