(Photo: Montreal Alouettes)
After taking another pass on retirement, Anthony Calvillo is about to kick off his fifteenth season with the Montreal Alouettes. Reader’s Digest Canada recently caught up with the American import to see what he still hopes to accomplish.
Reader’s Digest Canada: Last October, you broke the CFL and NFL record for most passing yards-72,381. What’s next?
Anthony Calvillo: People are saying that I should continue adding to that number to put it out of reach. But the main reason I keep coming back is that I want to win more championships. I’ve won three, but I want four. That’s the motivation.
RD: So you’re going to be around for another couple of years? You’re turning 40…
AC: It’s year to year. That’s not going to change. I always have to re-evaluate. This off-season was the first time I considered retirement, but once I thought about how I played, how the team played and if it was still fun, I knew I wanted to come back.
RD: You’re at the top of your game, yet you’re making significantly less than you would in the NFL.
AC: The minimum salary in the NFL is over $300,000. In the CFL it’s $43,000. But that’s the reality of my league. I’ve made a great, great living up here as a quarterback. I have things that I never thought I’d have when I was growing up in L.A.: the ability to travel with my family, to own a house. The millions would be nice, but I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved.
RD: You’re Mexican-American, your wife is of Greek descent, and your daughters are being raised in Montreal. What do you speak at home?
AC: The dominant language is usually English, but my oldest kid is in French immersion, and she’s totally bilingual. It blows me away. Even though I’ve been in Montreal since 1998, I haven’t made that effort to learn the language. Now I’m actually sitting with my daughter doing first-grade homework.
RD: You suffered a concussion last season and were back on the field the following week, after passing a battery of tests. Do you think the new concussion protocols set up by the CFL will appease football’s detractors?
AC: I’m just happy that we’re actually dealing with the issue. Look at the NFL. There are a lot of players who are suing the league because of past concussions. Now when you get dinged up, you really think about whether you should go back on the field.
RD: Do you worry about having been hit so many times?
AC: I truly believe that football has taken a toll on my brain. But it doesn’t frighten me enough to say, “Today, I’m going to retire.” I’m just glad I don’t have boys because that’s the big question: Am I going to let my son play tackle football? I have two girls, and I don’t have to worry about that.
RD: They could be part of the Lingerie Football League.
AC: Oh, that’s true too. That’s another story.
RD: You received a key to Montreal last fall. What would you do if you were in charge of the city for a day?
AC: I’d have to give something away for free all day long. Ice cream?
RD: What, no secret revenge plans on the city? Lobby for better snow removal?
AC: I’m going to stay away from those questions. I wanted to say something else, but I’m going to stick with giving away free ice cream.