After 10 years, two Grey Cups and a boatload of memories, defensive back Matt Black is retiring from professional football.
The 34-year-old, a Northern Secondary alum who spent all 10 of his seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, has decided to shift his focus from on the field to behind the scenes. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has hired him on as a Player Relation Advisor and Football Operations Assistant.
He made the announcement March 20, via the Argonauts website, penning a letter to his fans, teammates and colleagues.
“You can’t play football forever,” he said, on the phone while vacationing in Jamaica. “I had a great, long career and I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it. It was just time for me to take the next step in life and start my journey.”
When he was interviewed in January 2010 upon arriving at the Argonauts, Black was focused on giving back to North Toronto, the community he grew up in.
Black still helps with the school’s football program, when time permits and keeps in touch with former coach John Prisco, the man who turned the scrawny Grade 9 into an anchor of the team’s secondary.
“He’s been someone who’s taught me the game, been a mentor and has always been a sounding board for advice whenever I’ve needed it,” Black said.
The next adventure in the Argonauts office is one he said he’s enthused by.
“The fact that there’s going to be that familiarity and opportunity to interact with the fans. I will still be able to help the guys on the field,” he admitted. “I’m going to help this organization get the love and respect that I feel it deserves from Toronto.”
There’s a high level of gratitude in his voice. The memories of winning the Grey Cups in 2012 and 2017 still fresh in his mind. Also, being recognized for his work in the community has been important to him.
Which brings him back to Northern and whether he’ll still be the guru the high school squad can ask for sage advice.
“I’m always around for the folks at Northern if they need me, and if time permits, I’ll swing by the school and help the kids out,” he said. “That’s part of the culture of that high school. You come back and give back.
“If I can impress that upon them, the future generations out there will be well served.”
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