April 13, 2014 (ISN) – The expansion Ottawa Redblacks are going to have to look for another veteran centre to anchor their offensive line.
According to a CFL source requesting anonymity, Marwan Hage has decided to retire after 10 seasons in the CFL. The veteran offensive lineman will make it official Monday at a news conference at a Hamilton hotel.
Hage’s decision to hang up his cleats isn’t overly surprising.
The expansion Ottawa Redblacks selected the 32-year-old native of Lebanon who grew up in Montreal last December after he was left unprotected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins, who formerly held that post in Hamilton, was looking for Hage to anchor his young offensive wall when it began its inaugural CFL campaign this summer.
Hage played his entire 10-year CFL career with the Ticats and was firmly established in Hamilton. The prevailing sentiment after the draft was the veteran centre was seriously considering retirement rather than report to Ottawa.
That’s because Hage became a father for the first time this off-season and also has a lot of business interests outside of football.
A multiple all-star, Hage experienced a career first last year as Hamilton won the East Division and advanced to the Grey Cup game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. However, there was no fairytale ending for Hage and the Ticats as the Riders emerged victorious 45-23 before a partisan Saskatchewan gathering at Mosaic Stadium.
But the six-foot-two, 291-pound Hage enjoyed many productive seasons in Hamilton and in 2012 was named to the club’s all-time team.
Hamilton selected Hage in the second round, No. 14 overall, in the 2004 CFL draft out of the University of Colorado. He attended Jacksonville Jaguars training camp in ’04 before joining the Ticats.
Hage was an East Division all-star twice (’07, ’10) and a CFL all-star once (’10). He captured the 2009 Tom Pate Memorial Award for outstanding community service before being named the East’s top offensive lineman in 2010.
Four times he was named a CFL Players’ Association all-star by his peers (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and was also active on the union’s executive.
But Hage was a fan favourite in Hamilton for both his outstanding community service and outgoing, friendly personality off the field. His program, Hage’s Heroes, purchased tickets for youngsters to attend Ticats games as well as providing food for families in need. He also did humanitarian work in El Salvador.
On the field, Hage was also a stand-up performer, making him very much sought after by the media.