HAMILTON — Cornerback Delvin Breaux Sr., who played in three Grey Cups with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats despite suffering a near-fatal neck injury in high school, announced his retirement Wednesday.
Breaux, 31, fractured three vertebrae during a kickoff return in October 2006. He had earlier received a scholarship to play for the LSU Tigers but never did, acting as a player-coach at the school.
"I just want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to make my journey pass through Hamilton," Breaux said in a statement. "I pursued this dream because I wanted to show each and every individual that there is hope inside that no one can ever take away from you when you believe in yourself."
Breaux spent time with the New Orleans Voodoo (Arena Football League), Hamilton (2013-14, 2018-19) and NFL's New Orleans Saints (2015-17). Breaux remained with the Ticats last year but the CFL didn't play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He played 49 career games with Hamilton and twice was a CFL all-star (2014, '18). The six-foot-one, 210-pound Breaux helped the Ticats reach the Grey Cup game in 2013, 2014 and 2019 and last November was named to the league's first All-Decade team.
Breaux registered 110 defensive tackles, one sack, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries while scoring two touchdowns (interception return, fumble return).
"It is extremely rare when you find a DB that possesses size, strength, speed, aggressiveness, competitiveness and confidence," Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said in a statement. "Offences changed the way they game-planned knowing that No. 24 was manning the boundary.
"Delvin was one of the most dominant CFL corners of his era, and considering what he overcame early in his playing career, it makes his accomplishments at the professional level more than remarkable. So thank you, Delvin, for your time, dedication and commitment to the Tiger-Cats."
Breaux appeared in 22 games with New Orleans (2015-16) before missing the entire 2017 season due to injury. The New Orleans native had 64 tackles, three interceptions and one fumble recovery and in 2015 received the Ed Block Courage Award as voted by Saints players for being a role model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.
"I want to thank my coaches and the organizations I was a part of for not just teaching me about the game, but more importantly about life itself," Breaux said. "I want to thank my brothers (teammates) for everything from showing me the way to enjoy the game without being serious 24/7, to playing with a smile on my face while I jam and beat wideouts up in the boundary.
"And finally, I want to thank the fans for bringing me in and accepting a Nola Bread kid for life. In Hamilton, you all supported me when I had no family or friends in town for the games and made me feel like I was at home and loved, so thank you. I know it’s just a dot on my timeline but it was a huge dot because of everything I dealt with early in my playing career.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2021.
The Canadian Press