Veteran running back C.J. Gable signs with Ticats, then announces his CFL retirement

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HAMILTON — American running back C.J. Gable has ended his CFL career where it began.

The veteran signed a one-day deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday, then hung up his cleats. The former USC star began his career in Canada with Hamilton (2013-17) before spending three seasons with the Edmonton Football Team (2017-19).

"All gas, no breaks defines my football career perfectly," Gable said in a statement. "From the seven-year-old boy who was hungry to learn and be the best, to the 33-year-old man who realized that football actually isn’t everything.

"I've learned a lot from the game that has made me the man I am today. The early mornings, long nights, endless treatments, constant film viewing, and the blood, sweat and tears I put into it has given me life lessons that I will forever have instilled in me. Moving on to the next chapter in life is going to be a brand-new feeling. I am ready to press on the gas a little harder and keep going."

Gable appeared in 85 career CFL games, rushing for 4,803 yards and 28 TDs while adding 243 catches for 2,225 yards and 11 touchdowns. Twice the California native was an East Division all-star (2013, '16) and in 2013 was a finalist for the league''s top rookie award.

“C.J.'s abilities to run and catch the football were impressive, but his willingness and execution of blocking made him a complete back," said Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer. "He dominated at times and was a tremendous competitor who could get those tough yards.

"We're honoured that C.J. has chosen to retire a Ticat and wish him and his family all the best in life as they forge ahead.”

Prior to coming to Canada, the six-foot, 219-pound Gable spent time with the NFL's New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos. During his college career he helped the Trojans win three straight Rose Bowl titles (2006-08) and became the first true freshman in school history to start a season opener at tailback.

“Right from his first workout for us in Buffalo in 2013, we knew C.J. could excel at the Canadian game and in our system in Hamilton due to his all-around physical abilities,” said Tommy Condell, Hamilton's offensive co-ordinator. “He accumulated numerous `highlights` throughout his career, but I loved watching when he had the ball in his hands.

"He could run around defenders, through them and even over them. C.J.’s team-first mentality made him a pleasure to coach and we wish him nothing but success.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press