By Herb Zurkowsky
MONTREAL — It’s never judicious for an athlete to make a decision about his future immediately following a game — especially one in which his team has just prematurely been eliminated.
So, it seems, we’ll have to wait some time before discovering what lies ahead for Anthony Calvillo. The 39-year-old Montreal Alouettes quarterback remains under contract for another season and told general manager Jim Popp last winter he planned on fulfilling the entire length of the deal.
But Calvillo sustained some hits and damage this season — another three sacks on Sunday — while being concussed and knocked unconscious. He has a wife and family with which to concern himself.
“My body and mind are filled with emotion. I’m not going to jump the gun and there’s no time frame,” Calvillo said following Montreal’s 52-44 overtime loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East semi-final at Olympic Stadium.
“I told (the organization) my goal was to play two years, but my concern is my head,” he added. “I got dinged-up a couple of times. If my brain doesn’t function, I’ve got to evaluate that.”
If this was Calvillo’s last game, his legacy remains intact. He passed for 513 yards and three touchdowns against the Ticats. But he also was intercepted once and committed a fumble, resulting in 10 Hamilton points.
Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman, whose wagon is and always will be hitched to Calvillo’s, said he sees no reason why the pivot can’t continue playing effectively.
“That was one of the most courageous performances you’ll ever see,” Trestman said. “He continued to fight back. He played. He completed a high percentage of his passes. He made some brilliant throws. Some were on the move, in traffic. He was being harassed on at least a half dozen, and found a way to make plays.
“I don’t see any reason why, nothing that I saw today that says this guy can’t play. That’s for sure. We’re lucky and fortunate to have him here.”
Trestman has one year remaining on his own contract, unless he signed an extension this season that wasn’t disclosed. While he has been linked each winter to various NFL or U.S. collegiate positions since his 2008 arrival, Trestman stated his plan is to return. Of course, some of his lustre might have diminished following a 10-8 regular season.
“Absolutely,” he stated. “I love this team. I really enjoyed coaching this team. It’s going to be good to go home. But it also will be good to get ready to come back and start over and try again.”
The Alouettes were the two-time defending Grey Cup champions, a team that finished first in the division between 2008-10 under Trestman. They also were unbeaten in five semi-final games at Olympic Stadium and had a 13-game winning streak against the Ticats on their home field.
Calvillo was sacked three times, the Alouettes never recovering from the late-season loss of left tackle Josh Bourke.
“Anthony saw more mixed coverages than we’ve seen,” Trestman explained. “He made some tremendous plays to overcome that. I thought he stayed courageously in there, climbed the pocket and played brilliantly for most of the game.
“That was some performance by Anthony Calvillo.”