basically for family reasons,” Fleming said of his decision.
“It was a very hard decision to make. I’ve been doing this
job for nine years. I was blessed to do it for as long as I did. I loved what I
did. But at the end of the day it comes down to family and that takes precedence.
I would like to thank the Winnipeg Football Club for supporting me in my
decision and allowing me the time I needed to make this decision.
“I had the opportunity to play for three great
organizations in the CFL, many great coaches and have had amazing teammates.
Except for my wife Stacy and my kids Madelyn, who was born in Canada, Erin, and
Joe Jr., the CFL is the best thing that ever happened to me. My memories of
this amazing game and the friendships I have made will last a lifetime and for
this I am most thankful.”
Blue Bombers President and CEO Lyle Bauer said that while Fleming’s retirement is a huge loss
for the football club, the team’s management and coaching staff understand the
reason for it.
“Joe Fleming was a class act and a tremendous asset for
this organization,” Bauer said. “He provided leadership in the dressing room
and on the field. His presence will be missed by every member of the Blue
Blue Bombers G.M. Brendan Taman echoed those sentiments.
“Joe Fleming is the epitome of what a professional
football player should be,” Taman said. “He worked tirelessly for this football
club, both on and off the field.
“But there comes a time when a player has to move on with
his life and the Blue Bombers organization wishes him the best of luck in the
next phase of his life.”
Fleming (6-3, 290, New Hampshire ’94, DOB: Dec. 5, 1971 in
Wellseley, Mass.) rejoined the Bombers in a blockbuster trade that brought him
east from the Calgary Stampeders late in the 2004 season. He played in 22 games
for the Bombers following the trade, registering 42 defensive tackles, six
quarterback sacks, one fumble recovery and one pass knockdown.
It was Fleming’s second stint with the Bombers. He
originally signed as a free agent with the team in 1998 and played in 18 games
that season, collecting 44 defensive tackles, four special teams tackles, 15
quarterback sacks for 115 yards and seven tackles for losses of 22 yards.
In 1999, he played in nine games for the Bombers,
registering 15 defensive tackles, three quarterback sacks for 11 yards and one
tackle for a loss of one yard.
Fleming, who broke into the CFL in 1996 with the B.C.
Lions, finishes his CFL career having played 145 games. His career totals
include 273 defensive tackles, 10 special teams tackles, seven pass knockdowns,
five forced fumbles, 70 QB sacks and 28 tackles for losses of 65 yards.
Fleming was named a CFL All-Star on four separate occasions
(1998, 2000, ’01 and ’03) and was a four-time West Division All-Star (2000,
’01, ’03 ’04). He was also the CFL’s Outstanding Defensive Player in 2003 with
Calgary when he collected 33 defensive tackles, 11 quarterback sacks and three
tackles for losses.