Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Goodbye Schultzy: Remembering Scott Schultz

It’s official, Saskatchewan Roughrider’s defensive tackle and fan favourite Scott Schultz has retired from the Canadian Football League. Unexpected and sort of untimely, the announcement is definitely surprising and saddening for the ‘Rider Nation’.

A retirement during the beginning of the season is rare, but Scott Schultz is apparently pursuing a promising career opportunity in the insurance business.

Though Scott Schultz is still young, the 31-­­­year-old Moose Jaw native has had a lasting impact on the Saskatchewan Roughriders organization.

In college, Scott Schultz spent his entire career with the North Dakota Fighting Soux. The gritty nose tackle was a team captain in 2000, and had 146 career tackles and 11.5 sacks. Schultz definitely had a successful career in college and was named first team all-NCC in 1999 and 2000.

Scott Schultz was then selected with the first overall pick in the 2001 Canadian Football League College Draft. Schultz didn’t make an immediate impact for the Riders, as he also spent time with the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers during his first two years.

2003 was the beginning of great things for the Moose Jaw boy. In 2003, Schultz had six sacks and 32 defensive tackles. He also started in both the Western Semi-Final and Western Final, where he recorded one sack. The next season, Schultz finished with 27 tackles and eight quarterback sacks.

Scott Schultz continued his success over the next couple of seasons, and he was named a CFL all-star in 2005.

Throughout his career, Schultz perhaps had the most success when he was teamed up with fellow defensive tackle Nate Davis. Davis and Schultz created a deadly combo at the tackle position, helping form a tough defense for the Riders. Schultz and Davis also forged a solid friendship.

But the crowning moment in Schultz’s career, along with many of the long-time Saskatchewan Roughriders involved, was the Grey Cup victory in 2007. Schultz was a integral part of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Cinderella run to the Grey Cup finals, where they beat the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers to claim the Grey Cup.

Schultz shared in the glory of the victory. He was able to lift the cup high and proud, as he helped deliver glory to a promise that had been long starved of the Grey Cup.

Scott Schultz meant so much to the Riders, more than the stats could ever tell.

He was a consummate pro and a leader on the Saskatchewan Roughriders team. Anyone who has been to a Rider game has seen Scott Schultz right in the middle of team huddles, pumping up the team and the crowd. Schultz always brought a level of emotion to the game that made him a fun player to watch.

Schultz also meant a lot to the community. He did and still works in Regina, and has always taken time to give back to Regina. He has been running a football camp for some time now, giving advice to players who share the same dream that he did.

Always friendly with the media, Scott Schultz always came up with the most interesting one-liners He was always willing to take time out for the fans.

Being a former high-school defensive tackle in Saskatchewan, I know that Scott Schultz was always a player you aspired to be. A player who always gave it his all and was always a tough match for any offensive lineman. I still remember meeting Scott Schultz for the first time and getting his autograph. It was a great experience.

Whether it was signing an autograph, taking time to talk to the media, or bringing the crowd to its feet with an amazing tackle, Scott Schultz represented what it meant to be a Saskatchewan Roughrider.

On behalf of the Rider nation I’ve got to say: congratulations on your retirement and a great career Scott Schultz, and we will miss watching you creating havoc in the backfield.

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