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February 9, 2018

Federkeil Ready To Enjoy The ‘Shadows’

CALGARY, AB - JUNE 29, 2017: The Calgary Stampeders won 43-39 against the Ottawa Redblacks at McMahon Stadium on Thursday night.

As an Indianapolis Colt, he took home a ring from Super Bowl XLI, played in early 2007 in front of 74,512 inside Miami’s Dolphin Stadium and an estimated TV audience of 93.2 million viewers.

Prince performed an iconic rendition of Purple Rain during a halftime downpour that afternoon.

As a Stampeder, he took home a ring from the 102nd Grey Cup Game, played in late November 2014 in front of 52,056 at B.C. Place in Vancouver. Imagine Dragons headlined at halftime that afternoon.

Not bad for a kid from Medicine Hat.

He got to experience life on both the fast-lane NFL freeway and here in the decidedly less hectic hometown traffic.

“The CFL,’’ said offensive tackle Dan Federkeil in announcing his retirement on Thursday, “is more fun, so much less stressful.

“In the NFL, there’s just so much going. It’s so big. So massive. An unforgettable time, don’t get me wrong. Amazing experience.

“But me, I enjoy going to Costco or the movies and having no one recognize me. And if someone happens to, they don’t bug you.

“That could be just a Canadian thing.

“I like sitting in the shadows. I’m not really a Type-A person.

“When I left the game the first time a few years ago, circumstances were different.

“I’ve loved playing football but I’ve been content with this decision for months now.

“I just really enjoyed my time here as a Stampeder. I was lucky to get a second chance. Most people don’t get one.”

One of the most decorated U of C Dinos of all time arrived back at McMahon Stadium on April 9, 2013, after four seasons helping to bodyguard pivot Peyton Manning in Indy and a subsequent three years away from the game wrestling with concussions issues.

There were no guarantees.

But the fit was ideal. The possibility intriguing.

“When I came back, I didn’t know what to expect,’’ conceded Federkeil. “But I knew I wanted to try. Especially here in Calgary. I had to put quite a bit of work into it. Especially that first year, with the three-year gap that needed filling in. It wasn’t easy to do. But I was still relatively young. Just get back in the saddle and start over.

“I never thought it was more than I could handle.”

In 2014, the second year of Federkeil’s northern comeback, he and the Stampeders slid past the Hamilton Tiger Cats 20-16 out on the west coast in late November to sit atop the CFL throne.

“That was such a great experience,’’ said Federkeil. “The line we had that year, the chemistry … special, for sure.

“I’d count the West Finals the last two years as other highlights. Two big ones. Lots of energy.”

Federkeil’s energy will be funnelled into different challenges from now on.

“I guess, in the beginning, it was a bit of a gamble to see if his health would hold up,” reasoned head coach Dave Dickenson, casting his gaze backwards. “And, honestly, it did.

He had some injuries, some tough breaks in his time with us, sure, but it’s a rough game at the offensive line position. Dan’s smart enough to know how he feels. He’s got family. He’s gonna do well in the city.

“I’ll say this: He was a real leader for our group. We’ll miss that. I don’t think he realized he was a part of that glue along the offensive line, keeping all the personalities meshing. He was able to kinda help with the message. He and Pat (offensive line coach DelMonaco) had a tight relationship and Pat trusted that what he was telling Dan would get down to the rest of the group.

“Pat’ll have to find another guy to do that. I guess we’ll see who steps into that role.”

All things considered, the gamble five years ago that Dave Dickenson mentioned paid off.

For player and for organization.

“I thought,’’ summed up Federkeil’s three-down/yard-off-the-ball mentor, DelMonaco, “that he played really well for us. I thought he did a great job out there at tackle. I thought the injuries caught up to him and that was on his mind all the time.

“It started to become tough for him to recover and play well each week.

“Dan is someone who watches himself play. If he feels he’s not playing well, he doesn’t gloss it over. He doesn’t look at things through a dark lens. He looks at things objectively and he felt his play was declining to the point where he wasn’t happy with it.

“So we tried to protect him last year, not having him play every game. You just can’t play offensive line that way and he realized that.

“I think he did a helluva job. And I think he went out on his terms.”