MONTREAL - A longtime respected voice in the Montreal Alouettes' dressing room, Scott Flory will now put his leadership talents to work on behalf of all CFL players.
The nine-time CFL all-star offensive lineman announced his retirement Wednesday after playing 15 seasons and winning three Grey Cups in Montreal.
The move was largely expected after Flory became the new president of the CFL Players' Association in late March.
The Regina native suffered a season-ending biceps tear July 12 in a game against the Calgary Stampeders, though he was determined to return this season if he had not won his leadership bid.
"It was a decision I made when I chose to run that I told myself that if I did win that I was going to retire," Flory said at an Olympic Stadium press conference. "It was a way for me to segue out of football from the playing side of it but still stay involved with the game and being around the guys and trying to represent them.
"I was committed to coming back. I was training, I was doing everything, and I believe in this club and the direction that they're going so I wanted to be a part of it."
Flory felt that he could not do justice to either job by continuing to play while heading up the players' union.
"I didn't want to shortchange the players or the Alouettes by trying to do both jobs at the same time," Flory said. "Over my 15-year career I committed myself wholly to being the best football player I could be and I want to do the same in my new role as president of the players' association."
The 37-year-old is currently participating in talks with the league on a new collective bargaining agreement, though he declined to comment on any of those issues Wednesday.
"I've been a player rep since 2002 and sometimes there needs to be a guy who is the voice of the guys, and not everybody has the ability or the strength or the desire to talk to coaches or to deal with a lot of things that players have to deal with," Flory said.
"It was something I liked and I cared about and I wanted to serve the guys ... and I was elected, and I'm thankful for that. But over my time in Montreal I was always a part of the players' association and I believe in the players and trying to represent them the best I can."
Twice the CFL's top lineman (2008 and 2009), the six-foot-four, 296-pound Flory helped Montreal to Grey Cup victories in 2002, 2009 and 2010.
"When people talk about how I was able to play for so long it was because of people like Scott that took pride in protecting the quarterback," said former Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who retired in January as pro football's all-time passing leader with 79,816 yards. "They didn't get a lot of press, a lot of accolades, but in that locker-room when I could walk away from a game with not getting hit you could see a big smile on their face and they took a lot of pride in that, so they were able to do that for many, many years and that allowed me to play for a lot of years."
Montreal selected Flory in the third round, 15th overall, in the 1998 CFL draft out of the University of Saskatchewan. He attended training camp before returning to the Huskies, helping them win the Vanier Cup that season.
Alouettes tackle Josh Bourke acknowledged that losing both Calvillo and Flory to retirement will leave a leadership void in Montreal that needs to be filled.
"It just means that we're going to be missing two great leaders on our team, two great men," Bourke said. "I've played a lot of football with Scott. I've played a lot of games with him, pretty much every start I've made in this league he's been on the field with me so I've learned a lot the last seven years from him, how to be a man, most importantly, but how to be a great teammate, how to prepare, how to be a professional.
"Guys like myself and other guys coming up the ranks, we're the ones that have to kind of take over now but it's going to be hard because he's been such a great leader for so long."